The Davis Police reported early Thursday evening that a 54-year-old white male, not from Davis, died while being taken into custody by Davis Police Officers.
According to the release, at approximately 2:30 a.m. on Thursday, Davis Police Officers were dispatched to the La Quinta Inn & Suites, which is located on Research Park Dr. in South Davis, regarding a male subject screaming and yelling.
Police, upon arrival, heard the man yelling that he needed help and heard the sounds of items breaking inside his room. The individual also made statements that led officers to believe there was a gun in the room and there may have been another person in the room.
According to the statement, “Several of the officers are trained in crisis intervention and negotiations – all attempts at de-escalating the situation and to establish reasonable communication failed.”
At this point, the hotel room door was breached, following the refusal of the man to let officers inside. A confrontation ensued and the individual violently resisted being taken into custody.
According to police accounts, it took six officers to bring the individual under control. Four officers received minor injuries; one was treated and released at Sutter Davis.
Shortly after the individual was restrained, he stopped breathing. Despite medical personnel already being staged on-scene, and being able to quickly perform life-saving measures, the individual died.
Police said no one else was in the hotel room at the time of the incident.
Assistant Police Chief Darren Pytel told the Vanguard, “The large individual caused significant damage to the inside of the hotel room, including completely smashing the bathroom mirror, ripping the sink out, ripping the shower walls out, punching large holes in the walls, and destroying the door. It was a very tense situation and the individual was completely non-responsive to responding officers’ attempts to negotiate with him through the room door.
“Hearing the subject mention a gun, his destructive behavior, and the lack of information about who else may be inside the hotel room concerned the responding officers,” Mr. Pytel told the Vanguard. “Officers coordinated the staging of emergency medical personnel and then forced entry into the room.”
He said, “As they attempted to physically control the individual, the officers were literally tossed around, punched, and kicked. After several failed attempts to get the man under control, he suddenly became non-responsive. Standby medical units rendered aid, but were not able to revive him.”
The matter is being investigated by the Davis Police Department, the Woodland Police Department, the Yolo County District Attorney, and the Yolo County Coroner. Darren Pytel said, “A full investigation of the incident was initiated. An autopsy is scheduled for Friday, which may help determine the cause of death.”
He added, “Davis Police Officers are trained to deal with these types of situations, including using crisis intervention techniques to de-escalate tense situations. However, there are times when people don’t respond to officers, despite their best efforts. This was one of those cases.”
The Yolo County Coroner has not yet authorized the release of the individual’s name.
According to officials, this may be the first in-custody death involving the Davis Police Department.
—David M. Greenwald reporting