In another New York case, this one from May of 2017, a man in custody pleads for help, is ignored and dies. Andrew Kearse had been taken into custody by Officer Mark Weekes. While in the patrol vehicle, Kearse started complaining that he could not breath. Kearse repeats this 29 times. He also states he is feeling dizzy, that he is nauseated and that he is going numb.
Everything he said to try to get help was ignored by Officer Weekes. Andrew Kearse ended up dying from cardiac arrest. A grand jury found Weekes innocent of any criminal wrong doing. Weekes stated that his training had always taught him that, “if someone can speak, they can breathe.”
This was a tough case and always going to be. Weekes showed little concern for Kearse, even going so far as telling him he better not throw up in his car, that still doesn’t say what he did was criminal. Weekes stated he though Kearse was lying to try to escape. It’s hard to prove otherwise. To complicate matters more, Weekes is a military veteran who served in Afghanistan. He flew more than 300 combat missions. No one is going to want to put a veteran in jail unless they have really solid proof. That’s just a fact.
The biggest problem here, and in so many other issues with officers, is the training. When a person says they can’t breath what they usually mean is they are having trouble breathing. To teach officers to believe that if a person says “I can’t breath” that they must be lying is beyond ignorant. When someone is in distress they are not checking their wording to make sure it is literally correct. They are trying to get across that they need help. Lives are at stake.