Police in West Melbourne, Florida, claim that a 45-year-old man happened to pass away after they wrestled and tased him on the floor of a Public grocery store on May 21.
The physical altercation was filmed, and shows one cop on top of Donald Edward Whitmer Jr. with an arm around his neck, notes the Orlando Sentinel.
A woman can be heard saying off-camera: “Calm down, sir” and “Don’t choke him.”
Police said a preliminary autopsy of Whitmer found showed “no gross trauma” to his neck, notes WKMG.
West Melbourne Police officials claimed that Whitmer simply passed away:
The men and women of the West Melbourne Police Department would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Whitmer. We know this is a difficult time for them as they cope with his passing.
The incident began when a Publix employee called 911: “I have a customer in the store that seems to be confused. I don’t know if he’s on drugs.”
Police came to the store, asked Whitmer to leave, which he did, but returned.
Capt. Rich Cordeau told Florida Today via email: “Officers arrived to find the subject being uncooperative and a physical altercation ensued. During the altercation, the subject became unresponsive.”
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the incident.
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