Death of man in police custody is investigated


tulsa-police1Originally published: 24th April 2009

Tulsa police and relatives of a man who died late Wednesday while in police custody offered differing versions of the chain of events that preceded his death.

But both police and relatives will have to await the results of an autopsy by the state Medical Examiner’s Office, which will determine the cause and manner of Jerard M. Drew’s death. Drew, 38, who was wearing only boxer shorts when he died, had recently been prescribed prescription pain and anti-inflammatory drugs and might have been drinking alcohol Wednesday, but he was otherwise healthy, relatives said.

Police said Drew became unresponsive while they were trying to put leg shackles on him after he was pepper-sprayed but continued to resist officers’ attempts to detain him.

The man was cursing and kicking at officers, at which time the officers decided to put leg shackles on him “to keep him from hurting officers or hurting himself,” police spokesman Officer Leland Ashley said.

Drew’s mother, Ruth Woodfork, said officers were chatting and laughing when she came upon them and her son, who was lying face-down and handcuffed on the grassy north side of the road in the 2700 block of West Edison Street.

Ashley said officers performed CPR until an ambulance arrived and took Drew to St. John Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 10:55 p.m.

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