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Dispatch Calls Released After Man Dies In Police Custody

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Newly released dispatch calls show that happened leading up to and during an altercation that ended with a man dying in police custody.

Monique Griego has the calls and the latest from police.

In the tapes, you can hear an officer frantically calling for help.

Cell phone video captures tense moments following a traffic stop that turned into a deadly altercation between Baltimore police and 44-year-old Tyrone West. It happened last Thursday in northeast Baltimore. WJZ has now obtained the newly-released dispatch recordings from the incident in which West was killed.

The tape starts with an unidentified officer making a routine request for a female officer to come and search a woman during a traffic stop. Soon after, the officer calls for backup with a "signal 13," which means an officer is in distress. The dispatcher asked if everything was okay; the officer didn't respond.

After the dispatcher calls for more units, the out-of-breath officer again asks for help. Less than a minute later, he calls for a medic.

Investigators say police wanted to search West's car for drugs but he resisted arrest and stopped breathing after a struggle with officers, who then tried to give him CPR. But several witnesses have reported that police beat West unconscious.

"They were hitting him with batons, they were knocking him in his head, they were kicking him in his head, they were kicking him in his back," said one witness who asked not to be identified.

This weekend, West's family asked for help in finding out what really happened.

"We ask that the community look at this not as an isolated incident but as a microcosm of the greater issues in Baltimore City," said Neil Morris, West's cousin.

An exact cause of death for West has not been released. Police say the investigation into what happened is ongoing.

A prayer vigil for West will be held Tuesday night at 7 at the intersection of Kelway and Kitmore, where the incident occurred.

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