Dayton police officers under investigation after man in custody lost consciousness

Man taken into custody is expected to die, Dayton police chief says.

A use of force investigation is underway after a man in Dayton police custody who lost consciousness is not expected to survive.

The man, who was not identified, is in critical condition at Miami Valley Hospital.

“He is not expected to make it,” Dayton police Chief Kamran Afzal said during a Friday afternoon media briefing regarding the “critical incident.”

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Dayton police were dispatched at 5:49 a.m. Wednesday to a report of a crash and found an unoccupied SUV that was smoking near Gillespie Park at the DeSoto Bass public housing complex. The vehicle’s airbags were activated in the crash and the SUV sustained damage to the front and sides after driving through two fences, the chief said.

Officers Chelsea Weitz and Dylan Lehotay found the driver nearby with an injury to his arm and ripped pants who said he needed help. They called for medics at 6:03 a.m.

Body camera footage showed the driver become agitated while waiting for medics to arrive. The two officers on scene tried to get him to sit and to calm him but the man backed up against their cruiser and balled his hands into fists.

He resisted the officers when they tried to handcuff him. During the struggle, the man grabbed an officer’s Taser and ripped it from his duty vest, Afzal said.

On the video during the struggle at one point the man could be heard saying he could not breathe.

“Once he was secured, they noticed he has lost consciousness,” the chief said.

The officers turned over the man and moved him into a slightly upright position as they were trained, the chief said, and he briefly came to.

Medics arrived at 6:13 a.m. during the struggle, and began to assess the man. He was taken at 6:28 a.m. to Miami Valley Hospital, where Afzal said he was found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia.

The man is not is expected to live and an autopsy will be performed to determine what led to his injuries, the chief said.

The crash is under investigation, and a separate investigation is underway into the use of force.

Weitz is a four-year veteran of the department and Lehotay joined the force one year ago, the chief said. Neither officer is on leave.

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