The 41-year-old Cincinnati man who died Sunday after a violent videotaped fight with police had cocaine and PCP in his system, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Carl Parrott said the drugs are stimulants sometimes linked to “bizarre and violently aggressive behavior.”
The videotape showed Nathaniel Jones lunging at police officers and hitting them as they ordered him to stop. It took six officers wielding metal batons to bring the 350-pound man down in a restaurant parking lot. He died soon thereafter. The officers have been placed on administrative leave.
The presence of drugs “certainly clears up in our minds why he was acting the way he was,” said police Capt. Vincent Demasi. He said the videotape “shows us our officers were acting within their training. He was an extremely violent individual who was suffering extensively from the effects of these drugs.”
The Enquirer says that Jones’ death set off a replay of the agony and anger that wrenched Cincinnati 2 1/2 years ago, when an officer shot an unarmed black man in a dark alley. The shooting touched off three nights of riots and revealed the depth of the city’s racial divisions.
Yesterday, some activists again charged Cincinnati police with targeting blacks. Some called for the police chief’s dismissal. “If proper police procedure means that you can use that kind of force to clobber people who are clearly disarmed, there is something wrong,” said Calvert Smith, president of the Cincinnati chapter of the NAACP.
Mayor Charlie Luken defended the actions of the police. “It appears that the police responded appropriately and consistent with their training,” he said. “They’d been attacked with a deadly weapon – a 400-pound man.”