NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton released his official statement on Monday afternoon regarding the death of a man who was taken into custody while high on PCP. According to medical examiners, Ronald Singleton’s death on July 13 was ruled a homicide.
According to the police, Singleton was behaving “erratically” in a taxi when they responded to a Midtown 911 call. They placed him into a full body restraint “for his own protection,” which the coroner says contributed to his fatal cardiac arrest. Bratton’s official position is that police acted “appropriately.”
Official statements from Mayor Bill De Blasio and Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch deliberately focused on reports that the victim was on PCP. Though the District Attorney’s investigation and the internal police probe are not yet complete, the officials felt comfortable placing full blame on Singleton for his own death. De Blasio was slightly reserved, stating that “from everything we’ve seen so far, the protocol was followed to protect him and protect everyone around him by restraining him. Obviously, his other medical circumstances and the drug use then played a role in his demise.” Lynch seemed to emphasize a belief that if a citizen is intoxicated, the police essentially have free rein to do whatever they like: “The responsibility for the outcome lies entirely with the drug abuser, not the police officers attempting to remove him as a danger to the public and himself.”
Singleton’s homicide follows the death of Eric Garner, who was placed in an unauthorized chokehold by officers while being arrested for selling loosie cigarettes on the street. Since then, Bratton’s approval rating has dropped dramatically.
Singleton’s widow Lyn Singleton believes that her husband simply needed help and that “there were signs that medically there was something wrong. You would think NYPD here to protect us. Never thought they would be a contribution to my husband’s death.” She went on to say that she now has to “learn how to be a single parent.” (Photo: Getty)