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Man dies 2 weeks after incident with law enforcement officers in Altoona

A 43-year-old Eau Claire man died in a hospital two weeks after being taken into custody by police.
Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 4:54 PM CDT
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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) - A man died two weeks after being taken into custody by police earlier this month in Altoona.

According to the Eau Claire Police Department, 43-year-old Demetrio Jackson of Eau Claire died at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire on Oct. 22.

Jackson was taken into custody on Oct. 8. The Altoona Police Department and Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Department responded to a call about a man acting strange and causing damage while standing on top of a vehicle in the 900 block of Harlem Street in Altoona at 3:28 a.m. The caller was the owner of the vehicle that Jackson was damaging.

The Eau Claire County Communication Center told Eau Claire Police that Jackson was resisting arrest and not cooperating with law enforcement. Eau Claire Police arrived at 4:20 a.m. and said that when they arrived, they noticed Jackson was screaming and didn’t appear to understand the commands of any of the officers or deputies, repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe” while sitting on the ground. In a video provided by the Eau Claire Police Department recorded from two different vehicles, Jackson also complained that his stomach hurt.

Prior to Eau Claire Police arriving on scene, Altoona Police officers used a stun gun three times in an attempt to arrest Jackson for a probation violation after he ran from officers before turning towards an officer and charging, according to a release from the Altoona Police Department. According to Altoona police, they believed Jackson was under the influence of narcotics and offered to call him an ambulance. Jackson was on probation for possession of meth, according to police. A release from the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation stated that officers used “several force intervention options, including verbalization” and a stun gun in the incident.

Because of the use of the stun gun, Altoona Police requested emergency medical services to evaluate Jackson before taking him into custody. The Altoona Fire Department and Eau Claire Fire and Rescue provided medical services, including oxygen, to Jackson as he was loaded onto a stretcher and taken to a hospital. In the Eau Claire Police Department video of the arrest, Jackson is awake and active the entire time. The 18-minute video ends at approximately 4:40 a.m., when Jackson is taken from the scene.

Press Release Body Camera Video: https://youtu.be/EUgiiyzHyvo

Posted by Altoona Police Department on Tuesday, October 26, 2021

The Eau Claire Police Department, Altoona Police Department, and Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office all said Tuesday that Jackson died on Oct. 22, two weeks after the incident. According to the Wisconsin DOJ, a provisional autopsy showed that the cause of death doesn’t appear to be from traumatic injuries and is still pending lab analysis.

None of the seven officers who responded to the incident were placed on leave. The officers involved include officers Kim Schuch and Leah Wolff of the Altoona Police Department, officers Gracia Larson, Robert Schreier, and Michael Cullen of the Eau Claire Police Department and deputies Joseph Wollum and Jacob Pake of the Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office. The Wisconsin State Patrol also assisted in the incident.

Please see the following media release regarding an incident that occurred on October 8, 2021. Eau Claire County...

Posted by Eau Claire Police Department on Tuesday, October 26, 2021

The Eau Claire Police Department said they are conducting an internal administrative review of the incident. The Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation is leading the investigation as requested by the Altoona Police Department. The DOJ said that all law enforcement personnel involved in the incident are cooperating with the investigation, and will turn over all reports to the Eau Claire County District Attorney when their ongoing investigation is complete.

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