OKC Family Looking For Answers After Man Dies In Police Custody

Thursday, May 2nd 2013, 6:49 pm
By: News 9

An Oklahoma City man is dead after police respond to a panic call. The officers were trying to help the family restrain him so he could receive medical attention, when all of a sudden he stopped breathing. He later died at a local hospital.

Right now the four officers involved in this incident have been placed on routine administrative leave. Police used a restraint, along with handcuffs to try to keep him from hurting himself or anybody else. But it was while he was restrained using these devices that he somehow stopped breathing.

The family has identified the man as 39-year-old Clifton Armstrong. Police say Armstrong has been arrested for drugs, SUI, and domestic abuse in the past. And his family says has struggled with mental illness.

"I got my mom to come and get us, and we went to go put him in the car and he wouldn't go," said Velecai Maiden, who says she is Armstrong's mother.

5/2/2013 Related Story: Man Dies While Being Detained By OKC Police

She says he was at her home on NW 99th St., when he started acting paranoid and activated the panic alarm. Police say when officers showed up, Armstrong started acting suicidal and combative, and ran to the front yard of a neighbor's house and started taking off his clothes. That's when police tried to restrain him.

"Next thing we know he was dead," said Maiden.

Police gave News 9 a demonstration of how the restraints, used on Armstrong, are placed on an individual, and how they use them to keep a person from flaying around and hurting themselves or the responding officers.

Police tell us they only use these maximal restraints on someone if that person is possibly going to be kicking at an officer or kicking at a window in the squad car. Otherwise they really just try to use handcuffs or at least try to get the person to go along with them peacefully.

Police say the responding officers also performed CPR on Armstrong until medics were able to transport him to the hospital. The Medical Examiner's Office will have to determine how he died.