A 29-year-old Suitland man who was handcuffed to a bench in a holding cell died early yesterday, shortly after he was arrested for fighting with police officers, Prince George's County police said.
It is the fifth case this year in which a suspect died while in the custody of Prince George's police after struggling with officers.
Police said Elmer Clayton Newman, of the 4400 block of Rena Road in Suitland, called 911 about 2:15 a.m. to report some kind of problem at his apartment, although they said the nature of the call was unclear. When officers arrived, Newman allegedly attacked one of them with his fists, police said.
The officers arrested Newman and took him to the Oxon Hill District station, where they placed him in a holding cell and handcuffed him to a bench because he continued to resist, said Cpl. Diane Richardson, a police spokeswoman.
Officers called paramedics when Newman, who was alone in the cell, continued to flail around and bang his head against the concrete wall, Richardson said.
"He was kicking and screaming and yelling profanities," she said. "He was thrashing around in such a violent manner that the officers became concerned."
When paramedics arrived, however, Newman went limp, police said. They tried to revive him and took him to Fort Washington Hospital, but he never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead about 4 a.m., police said.
Police said that five officers have been placed on routine administrative leave while the case is under investigation, although they declined to describe the role each officer played in the arrest.
Of the four other people who died after struggling with Prince George's police this year, two died of gunshot wounds and two suffered fatal heart attacks, according to police officials and the Maryland Chief Medical Examiner's office.
On April 26, a 29-year-old carjacking suspect, Charles Ivy Huddleston, of Oxon Hill, died of a heart attack as he was shackled to a stretcher in a hospital emergency room, shortly after he was chased and arrested by police near Andrews Air Force Base.
On May 23, Robert Fulton Silver Jr., 35, of Clinton, also suffered a fatal heart attack as he was being handcuffed. Police said Silver, who had a history of mental illness, used karate-style kicks to attack the side of a passenger van filled with preachers as it pulled into a parking lot and that it took five officers to restrain him.