Official website for the City of Aurora, Illinois. Mayor Tom Weisner

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March Death of Man Who Died In Custody Ruled Cocaine Overdose

The March 12 death of a 37 year old Aurora man who died while in police custody has been attributed to adverse effects of cocaine according to the Forensic Pathologist who conducted the man’s autopsy.

Jersey K. Green Jr., of the 700 Block of Fourth Avenue, died at about 11:00 p.m. after suffering a seizure in the back of an ambulance while he was being treated by paramedics.  The ambulance was summoned by Aurora Police after they struggled with the out-of-control Green and were forced to use a Taser to safely gain control of him.  The Forensic Pathologist concluded that the Taser did not contribute to Green’s death.

In addition, the three Aurora Police officers involved in arresting Green have returned to their regular duties after the case was reviewed by the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office which is standard procedure in these types of cases.  Based on police reports, interviews of witnesses, and the autopsy report, “we are convinced that the officers in question did not commit a criminal act in the apprehension of Mr. Green and discharge of a Taser on March 12, 2012,” according to a letter from Kane County First Assistant State’s Attorney Jody Gleason.

According to the toxicology report on Green, he had 13,000 ng/ml of cocaine in his blood.  For comparison purposes, the toxicology report outlined that the average blood cocaine concentration in 906 impaired drivers was 87 ng/ml; in patients admitted to an emergency room for treatment of cocaine-related medical complaints it was 260 ng/ml; and in 37 cocaine-related fatalities, it was 4600 ng/ml.

Just before 10:00 p.m. on the night Green died, officers responded to the 700 block of Fourth Avenue in reference to several 911 calls for a man acting wildly and jumping on parked vehicles.  Upon arrival, Aurora Police Officer Matthew Huber observed Green on top of a parked SUV.  When Green saw the officer, he jumped off the vehicle and began running eastbound.

Almost simultaneously, back-up officer Greg Spayth arrived.  Green proceeded to run toward Spayth’s fully-marked squad and jumped on the hood.  As Spayth was exiting the squad, Green moved toward him in a threatening manner. Green’s actions led Officer Huber to believe that Green was going to attack Spayth so he deployed his Taser striking Green in the upper thigh and side, and administered a single, 5-second cycle from the Taser.  The two officers then struggled with Green who was eventually taken into custody with the assistance of a third officer, Enrique Gutierrez, who arrived in a third squad for backup.

Pursuant to Aurora Police general orders, an ambulance was immediately called to check over Green since a Taser was deployed on him.  Aurora Fire Department Paramedics arrived at 10:04 p.m. and began treating Green, placing him inside the ambulance for evaluation.  While inside the ambulance, Green became combative with paramedics and had to be restrained with the assistance of the police.  He also spit out a bag that contained a substance that appeared consistent with crack cocaine.

At approximately 10:24 p.m., while still in the ambulance, Green lost consciousness and quit breathing.  Paramedics immediately began CPR and transported him to Rush Copley Medical Center where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

“With the conclusion of this very thorough investigation we know for certain that Mr. Green’s death was due to complications of cocaine use”, said Chief of Police Greg Thomas. “It also confirms that our officers responded appropriately and that the use of the Taser was not at all attributable. Anytime there is a death it is tragic both for the family members of the loved one and the responding officers. My thoughts are with everyone involved in this incident.”

The investigation was handled by the Aurora Police Department’s Investigative Deadly Force Team (IDFT), which handles all incidents resulting in in-custody deaths.

Location: Aurora, Illinois

General

Release Date—April 20th, 2012