TAMPA – The family of a diabetic man who died Wednesday after he was taken into police custody issued a statement Saturday noting “conflicting accounts” of the incident and saying it is consulting with a lawyer.
Arthur Green, 63, was driving erratically on Central Avenue when an officer stopped his car and the Seminole Heights man was placed in handcuffs, Tampa police reported. A police spokeswoman later said Green was uncooperative and physically struggled with officers.
One of two officers at the scene came to suspect the motorist might be having a medical emergency. The officers removed the handcuffs and called Tampa Fire Rescue. At that point Green stopped breathing, the spokeswoman said. Paramedics resuscitated him, but he was pronounced dead at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
The family, in its statement, said it has “reason to be concerned” with the accuracy of police accounts of the roadside encounter. “As a result, we are in early consultation with the Barry A. Cohen Law Group and carefully considering all the facts. We are confident that additional details will emerge to clarify what occurred, and we will follow those facts and details wherever they take us,” the statement says.
Green’s death has drawn attention to the training law enforcement officers receive in handling people with diabetes, which affects millions of Americans. Two Tampa Police Department investigations are underway after Wednesday’s incident: an internal affairs investigation and a look at the use of force by officers at the scene.
Green’s family said he never was in legal trouble, had no history of violent behavior and was a community leader. He is survived by his wife, three daughters and four sons.
A viewing is scheduled from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at the Ray Williams Funeral Home, 301 N. Howard Ave. A funeral service is planned at 2 p.m. Saturday at the 34th Street Church of God, 3000 N. 34th St.