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Angeles County | Community News File / Willowbrook

Mental Patient Dies After Being Restrained

October 22, 1998

A psychiatric patient who had been fighting with a nurse at a board-and-care facility died Wednesday after being handcuffed and arrested by sheriff's deputies, officers said.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. Joe Brown said personnel at the facility in the 1600 block of East 126th Street called deputies when they couldn't subdue the unidentified 38-year-old patient.

Investigators said the patient beat his head repeatedly against a wall and then collapsed on top of a gate shortly before deputies arrived about 10:30 a.m.

Brown said two deputies handcuffed the man behind his back, laid him on the ground and pinioned his legs.

"Moments later, they noticed he was having difficulty breathing," Brown said.

The cause of death was not immediately determined.

Witnesses said the patient did not resist the deputies, and the deputies did not appear to have used excessive force.

"I would characterize it as a restraint, not a scuffle," Brown said. "The deputies' response seemed reasonable."

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