A spokesman for the Little Rock Police Department said a suspect died last night after experiencing medical distress shortly after being taken into custody by officers for a break-in near Highway 5 on the Pulaski/Saline County line. The suspect, a Latino male, remains unidentified at this writing.
Lt. Steven McClanahan with the LRPD said that shortly after 11:30 p.m. last night, officers responded to a report of a suspicious person at 100 Aliza Drive. While on scene, McClanahan said, officers heard the sound of a door being kicked in nearby. When the officers investigated the noise, they found a Latino male standing in the doorway of a house at 71 Red Gate Drive, apparently having broken in. McClanahan said the suspect, who had no I.D., was acting “erratic and incoherent,” and began to struggle with officers as they attempted to take him into custody. After the suspect was handcuffed, McClanahan said, the man became short of breath and was soon unresponsive. He was transported to UAMS by ambulance, where he was pronounced dead.
McClanahan said that cruiser dashcam footage doesn’t show the arrest and the officers involved weren’t fitted with body cameras (LRPD has only tested body cams in a trial run at this point), but there is audio of the encounter that will be released at some point. McClanahan said the two officers involved are “pretty senior officers” of the LRPD. Their names will be released later today. Both have been put on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. McClanahan said statements from witnesses at the scene were that no excessive force was used in controlling the suspect prior to his being handcuffed.
McClanahan said the assumption at this point is that the man was either high or intoxicated, given his behavior. The body will be taken for autopsy, and investigators hope that will shed some light on both why he died and his identity. “We have no clue who he is,” McClanahan said.