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Video released to defend officers’ actions in death of man high on drugs and drunk


WGHP-TV, Greensboro

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The family of a man who died in Greensboro police custody are meeting Monday to demand that the city council hold the officers involved accountable.

The family of 38-year-old Marcus Dion Smith plans to hold a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Shiloh Baptist Church at 1210 S Eugene St.

Smith died in police custody on Sept. 8. Surveillance video released by police shows him frantically running around the 100 block of Church Street before being restrained by officers.

He is eventually placed in handcuffs and put in the back of a police car. He then can be seen getting out of the car and charging at a group of officers, who took him to the group and put restraints on him.

The official cause of death was sudden cardiopulmonary arrest due to prone restraint; use of N-Ethylpentylone, cocaine and alcohol; and high blood pressure and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, according to an autopsy report released Friday.

The case is being called a homicide. Click here to read the full autopsy report.

“I spoke to the medical examiner yesterday morning, and he said it’s very important to note that homicide does not mean murder,” said Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughn. “I do think that the officers acted with compassion, that they tried to get him in the police vehicle to bring him to the hospital as he requested, and then when EMS came, they requested that he be restrained.”

The officers involved were initially put on administrative leave, but have been cleared of any wrongdoing, according to the victim’s family.

City council members have watched the body camera footage in small groups but will come together to discuss the matter for the first time on Tuesday.

“He was tied up like an animal… and died as a result,” said Marcus Smith’s father.

To view all the different body camera videos, click here.


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