‘I can’t breathe.’ Body-camera footage shows moments before suspect died in Milford police custody

The state Office of Inspector General made a portion of one officer’s footage public on Friday, while the Chief Medical Examiner listed Michael Brown’s cause of death as “pending further review.”

John Craven

Jun 7, 2024, 9:39 PM

Updated 43 days ago

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A shoplifting suspect told Milford police officers that his leg was broken and that he couldn’t breathe moments before he died in an ambulance, newly released body camera footage shows. But it’s still unclear how the arrest turned deadly.
The state Office of Inspector General made a portion of one officer’s footage public on Friday, while the Chief Medical Examiner listed Michael Brown’s cause of death as “pending further review.”
Some viewers may find the footage hard to watch:
“MY LEG IS BROKEN”
The incident happened Wednesday morning in the parking lot of Big Y Supermarket on Boston Post Road. An initial report from the inspector general said, “Brown was wanted on eight outstanding arrest warrants for shoplifting. Officers observed Brown exiting the store and followed him to his car. Brown ignored the officers’ directions to stop, and he entered the car.
The 3 1/2-minute body-camera video shows Milford officers approaching Brown in front of the Big Y. Brown refused to identify himself, then attempts to get in his car.
“You’re not getting in the car,” an unidentified officer tells the suspect.
“I’m giving you my ID, boss,” Brown responds.
At that point, a physical struggle breaks out, with officers attempting to remove Brown from his car.
“Get out of the car," one officer shouts.
“Wait, wait, wait, wait," Brown yells back.
Several times, Brown claims he a broken leg – although he was walking a moment earlier without crutches, a cast or a leg brace.
Brown: “My leg is broken, man. Look at it.” Officer: “Get out of the car.” One minute later, Brown – now face down and in handcuffs – says he can't breathe. Officer: “Stop moving!”
Brown: “I can’t breathe. I can't breathe.” Milford officers then roll Brown on his side as an ambulance heads to the scene. Brown: “Please pick me up. Please, please.”
Officer: “Get him on his side.”
Other Officer: “Roll over.”
Once Brown is rolled over, he appears to be calm and breathing normally. An officer tells him, “If you just got out, it wouldn't turn into this. You did this to yourself.”
FOOTAGE ENDS
But then, the body-camera footage ends. What happens next isn’t clear.
The inspector general report says: “During transport to Milford Hospital, Brown stopped breathing. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital.”
Milford police previously said that paramedics gave Narcan to Brown before he died.
The Chief Medical Examiner listed Brown’s cause of death as “pending further studies.” Toxicology tests can take up to two months to come back. It’s also unclear if Brown had any other medical issues.
Milford police referred all questions to the inspector general’s office. They have not yet identified the officers involved.


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