Family Disputes Findings In N. Andover Traffic Stop Death

SALEM (AP) — The family of a Massachusetts man who died in police custody after he was stopped at a sobriety checkpoint a year ago has rejected official findings that officers did not use excessive force.

Kenneth Howe’s wife and daughter on Wednesday criticized the decision by the Essex District Attorney not to bring criminal charges against the arresting officers.

Officials said Howe struck a trooper and was subdued after a foot chase, then became unresponsive while being booked at the state police barracks. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

WBZ-TV’s Kate Merrill reports.

The district attorney said poor health contributed to the death of the 45-year-old Howe last November.

A medical examiner ruled earlier that the death was a homicide and the cause was blunt impact to the head and torso with chest compression.

The family is suing.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Jim

    The DA knows the cause of death better than the medical examiner?

    When will people stop covering for these rogue cops who are out of control.

    The cop should be prosecuted and the DA should be fired.

  • Stop Violent Cops

    Mr. Kenneth Howe died from positional asphyxia, also known as restraint asphyxia, at the hands of the violent, incompetent, poorly trained police.

    The mechanism of action is confirmed by the photos of a prone man with officers on top of him for a sustained amount of time and the autopsy finding of “compression of chest”. Charges against the police should have been brought by the DA.

    This is a well known cause of “in custody deaths”. See NYPD video explaining the process: YouTube – Positional asphyxia 2003 See also DOJ report: Positional Asphyxia and Sudden Death

    Once in the prone position, Mr. Howe’s struggles were due to air hunger from being suffocated by the prone position itself, in addition to the body weight of the police officers. The police officers, both individually and as a group, then failed to correctly identify the ensuing crisis which inexorably leads to death if not immediately rectified.

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