Man Dies in Police Custody

January 21, 2010

Los Angeles:  A 39-year-old man died while he was in police custody after a Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) security sergeant found him seriously injured and walking in the street.

On January 15, 2010, at about 3:52 a.m., an MTA security sergeant noticed a man walking in a westerly direction on Cesar Chavez Boulevard from Broadway.  The man was wearing only boxer shorts, a T-shirt and one shoe.  He was bleeding badly from an apparent head wound and was staggering in his attempt to walk.  The MTA security sergeant requested assistance, which resulted in the response of Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers assigned to Central Patrol Division and paramedics from the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD).

The responding officers attempted to communicate with the man, but found him to be unresponsive.  As the LAFD Paramedics arrived, the man was still unresponsive and unrestrained.  To prevent any additional injuries, a traffic hazard, and to facilitate medical treatment, the officers decided to place the man on the ground and handcuff him.  Paramedics transported the man to the University of Southern California Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Investigators discovered evidence that the man had suffered some traumatic injury about two blocks from where the MTA security sergeant had first encountered him.  At this time, it has not been determined whether the man was the victim of a hit-and-run traffic collision, or if he was the victim of an assault or accident at that location or elsewhere.   Investigators hope that an autopsy will provide clues about the exact cause and manner of the man’s death.  For now, his identity is being withheld until his family members are notified.

Because the man was in the custody of the LAPD when he died, Force Investigation Division has assumed primary responsibility for the investigation and will work closely with detectives assigned to Central Traffic Division.  

Anyone who may have seen this victim on January 15, 2010, or who has information about this crime or incident is urged to call Central Traffic Division detectives at 213-972-1825.  During non-business hours or on weekends, calls may be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7.  Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crimestoppers at 800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477).  Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers 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.