Lawsuit on Maryland man's death after 911 call awaits autopsy: lawyer

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 27, 2016 2:37 PM

(Reuters) - The family of a black Maryland man who called 911 and died last week after a scuffle with police is awaiting results of an autopsy and other data before it files a wrongful death lawsuit against the county, the family's lawyer said on Tuesday.

Tawon Boyd, 21, of Middle River, died in a hospital last Wednesday, three days after Baltimore County officers subdued him and medics administered a drug to calm him, according to police.

A. Dwight Pettit, a Baltimore lawyer for the family, said his office had told the county it planned to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The move is pending release of material that includes the autopsy and recordings of emergency calls.

"We basically need to have that data before we can take it to the next step, in my opinion," Pettit told Reuters by telephone.

A police report said Boyd made a domestic disturbance call to 911 early on Sept. 18. Once officers arrived, Boyd accused his girlfriend, Deona Styron, of intoxicating and secretly recording him while someone else was in the house.

Boyd "was sweating heavily and appeared to be confused and paranoid," the report said. Styron told officers he had been smoking marijuana and drinking.

Boyd tried to break into a police cruiser and then banged on a neighbor's door. He kicked and grabbed at officers as they restrained him, and an officer punched him twice in the face.

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After Boyd was handcuffed, medics administered a drug to calm him and prepare him for transport to a hospital, the report said. The drug's name is blacked out.

The officer's races have not been disclosed.

A police and fire department review is under way, and Boyd's death is under a homicide investigation, police said last week. A spokeswoman said police had no further statements.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Dan Grebler)