PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia police say a man died in police custody on Wednesday. Police responded to the parking lot of a Rite Aid at 4600 N. Broad St. shortly after 5:15 p.m. Wednesday for a radio call of a hospital case.
The new police commissioner is already getting in front of the incident. Danielle Outlaw says the police department plans on being very transparent about the investigation as they look into what caused the man’s death.
Upon arrival, police say a crowd was gathered around a shirtless 28-year-old man who was lying between two parked cars. Police say naloxone was administered to the man by a pharmacist before their arrival.
“He looked like he was dying when I looked in the cars and seen him. Then I went in the store and I came back out and he was lying flat on the ground. The cops were there trying to help him,” said one witness who did not want to be identified.
The man then became agitated, screaming and striking cars and the ground with his body, according to police.
Police say officers attempted to place the man in handcuffs for safety reasons and during the struggle, a 31-year-old officer punched the man in the face.
The man was then placed in handcuffs and transported to Albert Einstein Medical Center.
Authorities say the man became unresponsive while en route to the hospital and was unable to be resuscitated. He was pronounced dead by medics just before 6 p.m.
“Any loss of life brings pain, sadness, and questions for all involved,” Outlaw said. “We will conduct a thorough, complete and objective investigation. At present, because the encounter involved an application of force, the involved officer has been placed in administrative duty status as the investigation proceeds. Additionally, the Department is reviewing existing policies and procedures as it relates to facts and circumstances surrounding this incident.”
Rite Aid is not commenting on the investigation but a spokesperson says it’s not against protocol for its employees to use naloxone on an overdose victim on Rite Aid’s property.
Police have not released any information about the victim’s identity.
CBS3’s Kimberly Davis contributed to this report.