Man Dies in Custody after Head-Banging NR13079rf

March 14, 2013

Los Angeles:  LAPD Harbor Division officers encountered a man who was banging his head on a brick wall, ultimately causing his own death.

On Feb. 25, 2013, two Harbor Division officers were responding to a radio call in the 20900 block of Denker Avenue about 9:30 a.m. because of a man attempting to hurt himself by banging his head on a brick wall.  Upon arrival, the officers saw the man purposely hitting his head on the brick siding of a residence. Though they tried to reason with him to stop, the man continued striking his head; so the officers pulled him away from the wall and handcuffed him for his own protection.

The officers then requested an ambulance for the man, identified as 47-year-old Darren Leiss.  He was immediately taken to a local hospital, but unfortunately he had sustained severe injuries and was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the facility.

The incident investigation revealed the location where Leiss was initially found and residing was a habitat operated by a local foundation for the care and treatment of mentally disabled adults.

The investigation will ultimately be reviewed by the Chief of Police, Office of the Inspector General, and the Board of Police Commissioners for compliance with the Department’s use-of-force policy, which states that an officer’s use-of-force actions must be objectively reasonable.  Additionally, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division will conduct a comprehensive review of the facts of the officer-involved shooting.

Anyone with information is asked to call Force Investigation Division at 213-486-5230. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247).  Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477).  Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone.  All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.