THE BRONX - Police say a 52-year-old man died last night of an apparent heart attack suffered while being handcuffed by officers in Woodlawn.
There are conflicting reports as to what led to the death of Jose Muniz last night.
According to emergency officials, Muniz was found in cardiac arrest at Jerome Conveniences Corp Store on Jerome Avenue at around 10 p.m. Wednesday. He was taken to North Central Bronx Hospital, where he died.
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Witnesses say police came out of nowhere and a scuffle ensued as authorities told him to spit something out of his mouth.
Police say Muniz had ingested a golfball-sized bag of cocaine after being seen making a drug deal by plain-clothes narcotics officers. According to witnesses, Muniz said he did not have anything in his mouth and resisted officers' attempts to handcuff him.
Witnesses then say the officers pepper-sprayed Muniz as the scuffle made its way into the store. Muniz fell, and police say CPR was performed when it was apparent he had stopped breathing.
While neighbors describe Muniz as a working family man, police say he had been arrested more than 30 times, most recently for drug possession last month.