SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — A man who died in the custody of Schenectady police is heard struggling for breath and pleading for help in a recording his widow said came from a squad car dash-cam video.
Angelique Negroni-Kearse provided the audio to BuzzFeed News , which posted it Wednesday. She said she recorded it on her phone during a meeting last month with state attorney general’s office prosecutors investigating the death of 36-year-old Andrew Kearse of the Bronx. She can be heard crying and reacting to the video footage being played for her.
According to Schenectady police, Kearse ran after being stopped for a traffic violation in May 2017 when he was in the city visiting a friend. He had just been released after serving two years in prison for theft and was wanted for a parole violation.
Officers were transporting him to the police station when he complained of difficulty breathing. In the audio, he can be heard saying “please” and “I’m going to throw up.” He repeatedly yells “I can’t breathe.”
When police arrived at their station after the 3.2-mile (5.15-kilometer) drive, Kearse was unconscious. Police said paramedics were immediately called and Kearse was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Police and the attorney general’s office declined comment on the recording.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was tasked by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2015 with investigating police custody deaths.
“Our investigation into Mr. Kearse’s death is ongoing and has involved a series of investigative steps including extensive medical testing and analysis (including by an independent cardiologist), interviews with multiple witnesses, and audio and video enhancement,” attorney general’s spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick said Wednesday.
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