Officers killed a man believed to have been intoxicated while trying to restrain him outside a market in Indio, police said Saturday.
Officers responded to a call of a man “exhibiting bizarre behavior” and throwing objects into businesses about 4:30 p.m. Friday in the 82266 block of Highway 111, according to an Indio Police Department news release.
Officers found the “visibly agitated and upset” man in the parking lot of the Cardenas Market and attempted to calm him, but he remained “combative,” police said.
Officers then attempted to restrain the man but he allegedly began to spit at them, prompting officers to place a mesh spit mask on him, according to police.
A spit mask — sometimes also called a spit hood — is a device used by police made of a loose, breathable fabric sack and placed over a person’s face to prevent them from expelling bodily fluids and exposing officers to disease.
“During the incident, officers noticed the subject was experiencing a medical emergency and immediately began administering CPR, while summoning CAL Fire paramedics. Despite life-saving efforts by officers and paramedics, the 41-year-old man could not be revived,” police said.
Authorities did not release the man’s name.
The death is being investigated by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Force Investigations Detail in conjunction with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
The Indio Police Department’s Professional Standards Unit is also conducting a parallel administrative investigation to determine if officers acted within department policy.
“On behalf of the Indio Police Department, I wish to express my sincere condolences to the family and friends of the decedent. I ask our community to be patient with us and our partner agencies. These are complex and highly technical investigations that take a considerable amount of time to get a definitive answer as to what occurred,” said IPD Chief Mike Washburn.
Police said the in-custody death may have been caught on cell phone video and asked anyone who has video or other information about the incident to contact RCSD Investigator Nelson Gomez 951-955-2777 or IPD Detective Jesse Marin at 760-559-2408.
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