#custodydeath #SonomaCountySheriffsOffice #DavidWard
The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office released body camera and details about a critical incident video about the in-custody death in Bloomfield on November 27, 2019.
First report as November 27, 2019:
At approximately 5:41 a.m., this morning, deputies were near Frei Road at Guerneville Road looking for a car that was stolen during a carjacking. A deputy and two Sebastopol police officers found the car and tried to pull the driver over on Bloomfield Road near Murray Road. The driver initially pulled over, then sped away from the peace officers and started a pursuit. The peace officers pursued the car, which traveled through west county. They tried to stop the car with a PIT maneuver (pursuit intervention technique), but it was unsuccessful. A PIT maneuver is when a peace officer uses a patrol car to abruptly turn a fleeing car sideways, causing the driver to lose control and stop. The pursuit ended on Sutton Street, which is a dead-end road in Bloomfield, when deputies used their patrol cars to box in the car.
The driver, a man, fought deputies as they tried to arrest him for driving a stolen car and evading peace officers. The deputies used a Taser but he kept fighting. They then attempted to use a carotid restraint hold to try to stop him from fighting. A carotid restraint hold is a way of controlling a combative person by placing pressure on the carotid artery, which causes the person to lose consciousness.
After deputies placed the man in handcuffs, he had a medical emergency. Deputies began life-saving measures and requested medical personnel. The man was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Update as December 20, 2019:
What the deputies didn’t know at the time is that the driver later identified as David Ward, 52 was actually the owner of the vehicle that was reported carjacked three days earlier. The owner retrieved his vehicle but he omitted to informe the police. It is not clear why the owner, Ward of the vehicle fled the deputies.
“If you watched the body-worn camera video closely, you may be concerned about what you saw. So was I,” Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick said at the end of the video footage. “The way Deputy Blount handles the entire situation is extremely troubling. As a result, I’ve served Deputy Blount a notice of termination.”
The Sheriff’s Office invoked the County’s critical incident protocol. Santa Rosa Police Department is investigating the incident and Marin County Coroner’s Office is conducting the death investigation.
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