Police custody death of mentally ill woman ruled a homicide

By Amy R. Connolly  |  Jan. 3, 2015 at 11:25 AM
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CLEVELAND, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- A 37-year-old mentally ill woman who was forced to the ground face-down by Cleveland police as they were taking her to a psychiatric hospital died as a result of homicide, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's office said.

Medical examiner's investigators said Tanisha Anderson, who also had a heart condition, died as a result of being restrained in a prone position. Her death was ruled a homicide, indicating the officer's actions played a role in the incident. The medical examiner's office said her bipolar disorder and heart disease increased the chances of sudden death. She was also schizophrenic.

Anderson's family called police on Nov. 13 when she began to have mental health problems. Police said she struggled as they took her to a patrol car to be transported for a psychiatric evaluation. Family members said police used a takedown move to force her onto the pavement, putting a knee on her back to handcuff her. She became limp and was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

Following the ruling, Anderson's family released a statement:

"The family demands justice for Tanisha, a thorough criminal investigation and an independent prosecutor that results in accountability by the police officers and the Cleveland Police Department."

The two officers involved have reportedly been placed on restricted duty. The Cleveland police said its Use of Deadly Force Investigation Team is continuing to review the incident.

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