Caddo Coroner Says McGlothen’s Death Was Avoidable
A man who died in Shreveport Police custody in early April died of natural causes but his death could possibly have been prevented. That's the conclusion of Caddo Parish Coroner Todd Thoma.
The report says "44-year-old Tommie Dale McGlothen Jr. died early April 6th from excited delirium. According to the American Medical Association this is the sudden death of individuals "who are combative and in a highly agitated state" and who have exhibited "agitation, excitability, paranoia, aggression and apparent immunity to pain, often associated with stimulant use and certain psychiatric disorders."
Dr. Thoma says
Although Mr. McGlothen’s death has been ruled from natural causes, excited delirium, it is my opinion that this is still a potentially preventable death. When confronted with Mr. McGlothen, it should have been obvious that he needed medical care. He was left in the back of the patrol vehicle for 48 minutes before he was found unresponsive and not breathing. He was predominantly unsupervised during this entire period. After a violent confrontation with psychotic behavior, and being tased several times, a more thorough evaluation by either the fire department or preferably an emergency department would have been indicated. It is my opinion that if Mr. McGlothen had survived, he would have been transported to a medical facility for treatment rather than jail. Why there was a delay in achieving this is at issue."
Four Shreveport police officers have been placed on leave following the death of Tommie McGlothen Jr. while in police custody. The 44-year-old McGlothen died on April 5th.
KSLA released video footage Monday showing the actions as officers were taking McGlothen into custody.
The officers involved are on leave with pay while the case is investigated. Video taken by the witnesses shows the officers punching, kicking and tazing McGlothen while he was on the ground.
Witnesses tell KSLA one female officer punches McGlothen after he spits on her.
Several Council members say they are concerned that they were not notified of this death until late May. But Chief Ben Raymond has said he reported the death to the Mayor's office. The Chief sent KEEL News this message:
This incident has been under investigation since April 5, 2020. It is common practice to not investigate alleged internal administrative violations until after a criminal investigation has concluded. The criminal investigation has not concluded but we completed our portion and recently began the IAB investigation. We've handled this case appropriately from Day One.
Caddo District Attorney James Stewart is now investigating the case and has asked for more information from the police department. He is also asking anyone from the public who has information about this case to come forward.
The coroners report also has this information
Police officers used Tasers, mace and nightsticks to control McGlothen, who was agitated and combative and had fought with a homeowner in the 3700 block of Eileen Lane late April 5. Police arrived after McGlothen blocked a driveway, followed the homeowner inside his house, mumbling incoherently and exhibiting signs of paranoia and emotional disturbance before the altercation with the homeowner, according to police.
After his arrest, McGlothen was placed in the back of a police cruiser and later was observed to be non-responsive. Police attempted CPR but attempts at the scene and at the hospital to revive McGlothen were not successful. He was pronounced dead just after 2:30 a.m. at Willis-Knighton Medical Center on Greenwood Road.
Dr. Thoma also added this:
Although autopsy showed that Mr. McGlothen suffered multiple blunt force injuries from both his confrontation with police and the citizens earlier in the day and that evening, no injuries were life-threatening or could be considered serious. Mr. McGlothen had underlying heart disease and clearly was suffering from excited delirium. The combination of these factors caused his death.
The coroners report adds:
Excited delirium is an emergent medical condition that is usually survivable with appropriate medical care, Dr. Thoma said. "Early treatment increases chances of survival."
According to the AMA, triggering factors for Excited Delirium Syndrome, or ExDS, “include sudden and intense activation of the sympathetic nervous system, with hyperthermia, and/or acidosis, which could trigger life-threatening arrhythmias in susceptible individuals."
ExDS was only officially recognized as a medical condition by the American College of Emergency Physicians in 2009. However, descriptions of similar cases date back 150 years, and the AMA has traced the syndrome back to what once was termed "Bell’s Mania."