New York man dies in police custody, family suspects he was killed
The family of a Western New York man who died after being stun with a Taser gun while in police custody plans to sue over the ordeal.
The estate of Richard Metcalf tells WIVB News that they have filed a notice of claim against Erie County and the Depew, New York Police Department. Metcalf, 35, died in November after suffering a massive heart attack while in the custody of the Erie County Sheriff's jail division.
"I want to get to the bottom of it. I want to know the truth. I want to know what happened. I think his mother and I deserve to know what happened,” the victim’s father, Richard Metcalf, Sr., tells WIVB.
The younger Metcalf was in police custody at the time of his death because he had been arrested days earlier by a Depew police officer called to respond to a burglary in progress. He was shot with a Taser during the ordeal and taken to the Erie County Medical Center shortly after due to an elevated heart rate, but was then transported to a holding center. Once back in a cell, police say he started acting erratically.
"He was spitting blood at the officers as they were trying to de-escalate the situation,” Holding Center Superintendent Thomas Diina told WIVB. “It was reported that he was poking himself with a fork, raking his face across the bars in front of his cell in order to get his mouth bloody so that he could spit at the officers.”
Metcalf’s family disputes that claim, though, and suspects foul play.
"My personal opinion is that he was severely beaten. There's no other explanation. There's no other logical explanation for that. If you can imagine your child like that after you just saw him,” his father told the network last year while holding back tears.
After officers in the holding cell composed Metcalf, he was taken once again to the medical center where he died shortly after.