Fort Worth, Texas -- Five Fort Worth police officers have been fired and two others have been suspended after a suspect's pleas for medical help while in custody went unheeded, leading to the man's death. A police statement Tuesday says the officers answering the report of a prowler on July 26 arrested an armed man said to have been trying to break into a house.
The 55-year-old man began to complain about medical issues, but the officers kept him handcuffed in the back seat of a patrol car without medical aid as they continued to investigate the scene.
Only when he was later found unresponsive did the officers summon an ambulance, and the man was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. The medical examiner concluded the man died of cocaine intoxication.
The investigation found "multiple violations of departmental policy," including failure to protect the rights of persons in police custody, reports CBS DFW. The department gave a preliminary update to the Tarrant County District Attorney's office and the case is pending a grand jury review, the station reports.
"The actions taken by the officers involved in this incident discovered during our investigation are not in accordance with the values of the Fort Worth Police Department or the standards that the citizens of Fort Worth have for their police department," the department said in a statement. "We hope that the administrative conclusion of this case is an assurance to the residents of Fort Worth that we are able to identify and properly address any issues that may arise during police incidents."
Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald has been in communication with the deceased man's family, the station reports.
In addition to the five officers that were fired, a sixth was suspended for 90 days without pay and a seventh was suspended without pay for five days.