An Ohio family has announced plans to file a lawsuit against Dayton, accusing the city of being responsible for the wrongful death of their 20-year-old son. Although coroners ultimately ruled the death a suicide, the family believes that the police played a role in the incident and have suggested that video evidence can back up their claims.
Authorities say they arrested the man for attempted burglary and took him to jail, where he began to strike the wall with his head, prompting officers to transport him to the hospital. The man was in the back of a police cruiser on the return trip from the hospital when he broke a window with his head. He then exited the car and made his way to a nearby bridge, where he jumped to his death.
Police claim to have footage in which the man is heard asking the officers about the implications of suicide. The officers handcuffed the man during the trip, but failed to buckle his seat belt. The driver of the cruiser was put on administrative leave for violating department policy.
Although footage from the cruiser's dash cam and from his booking at the county jail has been released, the man's parents still believe a video that implicates the officers in his death has been purposefully withheld.
Officials with the city of Dayton were not able to speak to the press regarding the lawsuit, as the man's death is currently being investigated by both the Department of Justice and the FBI. The man's family is reportedly seeking millions in damages from the city.
Source: WDTN, "Family plans lawsuit against Dayton," Jordan Burgess, Oct. 24, 2011
Source: WDTN, "New details about deadly cruiser escape," July 19, 2011