Family, lawyer blast NYPD after man’s death in custody

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THE BRONX -

The death of a man in police custody has been ruled a homicide, and the deceased man's loved ones and lawyer are demanding justice from the NYPD.

Dwayne Pritchett died on Jan. 28 after a struggle with police in his own bedroom, where officers found him intoxicated after his father had called them seeking medical help.

The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide Tuesday, saying Pritchett's neck had been compressed. 

"Neck compression," says Sanford Rubenstein, the family's lawyer. "In simple terms, that means choked."

The report also found that Pritchett had multiple drugs in his system. He also had heart disease and food lodged in his throat, which also contributed to his death.

Officers had entered the Reservoir Avenue apartment and opened the door to Pritchett's bedroom. They say they saw a handgun magazine on the floor. So they handcuffed Pritchett.

Authorities say Pritchett tried to pull a firearm from one of the officer's holsters. The ensuing struggle led to his death, according to the medical examiner.

"Even if he was in fact trying to take an officer's gun, is the appropriate response by a police officer causing neck compression, causing death?" asks Rubenstein.

The officers involved in the incident remain on active duty, according to police officials.

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