Security Footage, 9-1-1 Tape Released From Pasadena Man's Death In Police Custody
Early Friday morning, Pasadena Police officers responded to a pair of 9-1-1 calls from an apartment complex in the 200 block of Orange Grove boulevard, just north of the 210 freeway. The officers arrived to find a man, holding a knife and a fire extinguisher, who wouldn't or couldn't respond to their asks to put down the weapon. Two teenaged boys, one of whom had called 9-1-1, and a woman were also inside the apartment.
The security footage can be seen around the 3-minute mark in the video above.
When the man failed to put down the knife and the fire extinguisher, officers used a Taser on him twice. The man continued to resist, prompting officers to use "physical force" before placing both a hobble-restraint (for feet) and handcuffs on him. As they cuffed him, the officers noticed the man was "in distress" and began "life-saving measures," according to City News Service and the Los Angeles Times.
At around 3 a.m., the Pasadena Fire Department received a call from police about an unresponsive man who wasn't breathing. Paramedics declared him dead at the scene after they arrived.
Shortly after midnight on Saturday morning, authorities with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the Pasadena Police released the above 9-1-1 tape, as well as security camera footage of the Pasadena officers first responding to the apartment.
Listening to the 9-1-1 call, we learn a few more facts about what happened, as well as the identity of the man who died. According to the 9-1-1 tape, 36-year-old Reginald Thomas had barricaded himself in the apartment's front doorway armed with a knife. The 9-1-1 caller explained how Thomas has, in the past, acted out, most likely due to the effects of bipolar disorder. The caller also believed Thomas was high on some sort of drug, though he couldn't specify which.
Thomas' history of mental illness was emphasized by his partner, Shainie Lindsay, to KTLA on Friday. She said that the Thomas had actually called police first, perhaps recognizing the signs of a manic episode. Lindsay is mother to four of Thomas' children, and is expecting a fifth.
On Friday evening, a large crowd of roughly 100 or so people had gathered in front of the apartment complex demanding accountability, according to KABC. The protestors arrived there after a demonstration in old town Pasadena earlier in the evening.
Officially, we don't yet know how Thomas died. Before we do, the L.A. County Coroner's department must conduct its own investigation and autopsy.