GREENSBORO, N.C. (WFMY) – The Greensboro Police Department has released video following the death of a man who was restrained by officers. A judge ruled late Friday that the Greensboro Police Department could release the 23 minutes, 14 seconds videos.
AUTOPSY REPORT RELEASED
On Friday, the autopsy was released in the death of Marcus Smith, who died while in custody in September. His death was ruled a homicide, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME). It revealed Smith died of cardiac arrest due to restraint. The report also indicates that Smith had ecstasy, cocaine and alcohol in his system at the time of the death and that he also had an underlying heart problem.
POLICE BODY CAM VIDEO
Greensboro Police Chief, Wayne Scott requested the video be released following the family’s request earlier this month.
Guilford County Superior Court Judge Susan Bray ruled for the video to be released.
The Police Department released twenty videos including a longer former compilation of the body-worn camera footage with narration from Chief Scott.
The City is continuing its review of the initial findings of the Medical Examiner’s report.
Chief Scott has elected to modify the application of the RIPP Hobble device used to restrain individuals, while police continue to review the use of this method of restraint.
ADDITIONAL POLICE CAM VIDEO
If you want to watch additional Greensboro Police body cam videos, click HERE.
The following statement was released from the Greensboro Police Officer’s Association.
“The Greensboro Police Officer’s Association expresses its unwavering support and appreciation for its officers involved in the tragic death of Marcus Dion Smith earlier this fall. The officers acted with compassion, respect, and concern for the safety of Mr. Smith and others affected by Mr. Smith’s actions. We are confident that a review of the body camera footage released this evening will convince all of our citizens that the officers did everything possible to correctly and safely perform their duties.”
"Council viewed the body-worn camera video in small groups this evening in the Marcus Smith incident. We are still waiting for the SBI & DA determinations. The public can view the video on the City website. If you watch it in its entirety, it is my personal opinion that the officers were doing their utmost to assist Mr. Smith and called EMS. EMS asked the officers to restrain him before they could transport him. My sympathies go out to Mr. Smith's family."
BACKGROUND FROM SEPTEMBER 8TH INCIDENT
This all stems from an incident back on September 8th, 2018. Greensboro Police say Marcus Deon Smith was "suicidal" and "disoriented" and running in and out of traffic in downtown Greensboro. The press release from September says while officers were attempting to transport him for mental evaluation, the subject became combative and collapsed. Both EMS and on-scene officers began rendering aid and Smith was transported to a hospital where he later died.
Keep in mind, a ruling of "homicide" by the OCME does not indicate anything criminal. According to the SBI, "homicide" helps differentiate between a natural cause of death and a death caused by something else. It doesn't mean that there was any wrong-doing or negligence. It also doesn't mean that there wasn't. That's all for the District Attorney's Office to decide.
The City of Greensboro sent a release Friday afternoon saying they're filing a petition with Guilford County's Superior Court to request the release of the body camera footage in this case, which has since been granted.
"Due to the multitude of factors that led to the tragic circumstances for Mr. Smith, detailed in the NC Department of Health and Human Services Medical Examiner report, the City of Greensboro believes there is a compelling public interest to share the video," the statement reads, in part.
SMITH FAMILY VISIT
Earlier this month, Smith's family came to Greensboro from South Carolina to push for the officers involved to be held accountable and for policy change.
After Smith's father viewed the body camera footage with an attorney, they called on City Council to release the body camera footage. In a written statement, they say Smith was "hogtied" and died as a result. It reads in part:
"...Marcus was not attacking the officers. He may have been acting erratically, but he wasn't trying to hurt anyone.
Marcus asked the officers for help, but instead of being offered help, four white officers used as much force as possible without directly hitting or shooting him. There were 9 officers on scene, and four that came in direct contact with him. They could have used other methods to restrain him. 'Hog tying' him was completely unnecessary."
Before the autopsy was released, Greensboro Police said all forms of restraints used are well within national standards. The Police Department says we can expect a statement regarding the information in the autopsy report.