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Autopsy released in wrongful death case from Alabama

As a parent, if you found out your child died after an altercation with police, you will be asking a lot of questions. This mother is doing so, too. According to the news, the woman from Alabama believes that her 17-year-old son was killed by the Huntsville Police. In March, she filed a lawsuit that claimed the police used excessive force, assaulted and battered her son, and caused his wrongful death.

An autopsy has now been released by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences. The autopsy allegedly reports that the findings showed blunt force injuries and anoxic/hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. Anoxic/hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is when the brain does not receive enough oxygen; this can result in damage or death.

The teen’s cause of death has been officially ruled as undetermined. However, the lawsuit claims that the woman’s son was set up in a drug sting by the police. They were allegedly using an 18-year-old informant. The lawsuit states that a plainclothes officer had chased her son, threw him to the ground, cuffed him and pepper sprayed him. The autopsy report indicated that the teen’s neck had been restrained.

In the lawsuit, police were reported as having told paramedics that the 17-year-old boy had swallowed a bag of drugs, but those drugs never turned up. They were not in his stomach, according to the autopsy report. When police wanted to get that bag of drugs from the teen, they allegedly shoved a sharp object down his throat.

The autopsy report states that because of the circumstances surrounding this particular event, it’s hard to decide what caused the death of the teen. The autopsy does not rule out a drug overdose or asphyxia event. It reports that the boy’s closed airway could have been caused by a blocking of the airway by a foreign object or from the neck restraint. It could also have been a combination of all three things.

Source:  48 WAFF, “Autopsy released in wrongful death suit against HPD” Sarah Navoy, May. 06, 2014

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