Tyrone West died from heart failure—“cardiac arrhythmia due to cardiac conduction system abnormality complicated by dehydration”– during police restraint, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiners.
Those were the words used by the doctors to describe West’s death in a just-released finding about the outcome of a violent encounter between the man and several police officers in Northwest Baltimore.
City prosecutors released the cause and manner of death on Dec. 10, 155 days after West, 44, died in a July confrontation with police.
“The manner of death could not be determined because of an inability to determine the absolute relative contribution of each of the described factors that caused Mr. West’s death,” in a statement issued by the medical examiners.
Five months later, the family has answers, but they remain outraged and have no sense of closure.
“I’m not satisfied with how long this took and everything wasn’t included in the autopsy report,” Towanda West, West sister told the AFRO. “It’s misleading information, like my brother had a medical condition—which he didn’t have, my brother was healthy. They beat my brother to death.”
She said they still have yet to determine the manner of death, but she said it was the “Taser, the pepper spray, the beatings, what killed him?”
The medical examiners said they remain unclear about what they said are the pivotal factors in West’s death. Several witnesses to the incident echoed the family’s assertion that police beat West to death.
“Not only did they kill an unarmed man, they killed a healthy man,” she said.
The autopsy report comes on the heels of several city council members teaming up with the West family to gain answers.
In November, Councilman Bill Henry rallied with the family for answers sighting, “I hope to get the family the answers they deserve. They’ve been living with no closure for going on half a year now.”
The state’s attorney’s office said in a statement that they will continue with an independent investigation of the circumstances of Mr. West’s death, which will include the findings of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME).
“We will keep on fighting and standing on this battle field until we get justice for my brother,” Towanda West told the AFRO.
The city council planned to scrutinize the autopsy process in a hearing scheduled for Dec. 10 at city hall.
“This will be closure when we seek justice and those officers who killed my brother are charged and prosecuted,” she said.