COCONUT CREEK (CBSMiami) – After two weeks, Coconut Creek officials broke their silence about the death of a man who died while in police custody.
“There is no cover up,” said Coconut Creek Police Chief Michael Mann.
Mann spoke out for the first time since 39-year old Calvon Reid died after being Tasered by as many as four police officers
“We’re responding to you right now,” said Mann.
The department never alerted the public about the incident and when the media did learn about it, the department refused for more than a week to release any details claiming the death was “confidential.”
Faced with a growing backlash, the chief held a press conference. He said on February 22nd at 1 a.m. paramedics were called to the Wynmoor Condos and found Reid in the parking lot.
“Mr. Reid was observed to be in an agitated and combative and incoherent state. He had numerous cuts on his arms, hands and chest and his clothing was torn and bloodstained,” said Mann.
He said paramedics summoned the police.
“As the officers approached Mr. Reid to offer him assistance, he became even more agitated. Given Mr. Reid’s appearance and behavior, the officers were unsure if they were dealing with a victim of a crime, the suspect of a crime or a potential Baker Act subject,” said Mann.
He said Reid appeared to be hallucinating.
“Mr. Reid continued to escalate his violent behavior to the extent that Taser use became necessary for the officers’ safety as well as for Mr. Reid’s own safety,” said Mann.
“He was yelling ‘baby’ and ‘help’ and ‘baby they’re going to kill me’ and ‘I can’t breathe,’” said Bonnie Eshleman.
Mann wouldn’t say how many times Reid was Tasered but said that he was brought to the hospital where he died two days later.
When asked if his officers were certified in the use of Tasers, at the time of the incident, Mann demurred.
“It’s part of the investigation. I really can’t discuss that,” said Mann.
He also said the officers involved are still on the street and that the investigation will continue but will ultimately be reviewed by the Broward State Attorney’s Office.