Silver Spring man dead after Montgomery police subdue him
Police use pepper spray and taser on man, 65, found acting suspiciously in stairwell
A 65-year-old Silver Spring man who was tased and pepper sprayed by police while resisting arrest Sunday night died early Thursday morning, Montgomery police said. The man had been in critical condition at Holy Cross Hospital since the incident, but died just after 3 a.m. Thursday.
Police do not know if Karreem A. Ali, of the 11600 block of Lockwood Drive, died as a result of the incident or because of a pre-existing medical condition, said Capt. Paul Starks. Police are not able to release any medical information that may be pertinent due to medical privacy laws, he said. They are internally investigating the use of force by the officers, he said.
Both Third District patrol officers involved, Susanna Stanley and James Walsh, have been put on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the internal investigation, said police Spokesman Cpl. Dan Friz. Stanley and Walsh started with the county police in July 2007 and July 2008, respectively.
A county officer arrived to the 11400 block of Lockwood Drive in Silver Spring at approximately 7:33 p.m. Sunday to find Ali lying unresponsive in the stairwell. After repeated attempts to get Ali's attention failed, the officer decided to attempt to move the man out of the stairwell, Starks said.
"He was acting odd, and that was from the citizens at the scene who called us," Starks said of Ali, adding the resident who first called police indicated Ali may have been on drugs or was otherwise afflicted. "In an attempt to get him out of the stairwell and get him outside where it isn't as confining, the officer grabbed onto his arm, which is when he began resisting."
Witnessing the struggle, another apartment resident called 911 and informed the operator the officer, who was alone at the scene, appeared to be in trouble. A second officer quickly arrived, but Ali continued to resist attempts to move him to an area outside, Starks said, adding Ali was only subdued when the officers engaged him with pepper spray followed by a brief "drive stun" from a handheld Taser device.
"With that, he was able to be cuffed, then, as is our protocol, we called fire rescue, because he had been exposed to OC spray," Starks said.
Medical personnel arrived and washed the spray off Ali, Starks said, adding "They examined and treated him, then left."
But emergency medical personnel were quickly called back to the scene when Ali apparently lost consciousness minutes later in the back of a police transport van, Starks said. Ali was rushed to Holy Cross, according to hospital staff and police.
Ali's body has been transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore, Starks said.