PATERSON, N.J. (AP) — Authorities are trying to determine how a man who recorded a frantic video at a police station wound up unresponsive while being taken by police to the hospital — and later died.
Hundreds of protesters rallied Tuesday night outside Paterson police headquarters, saying they wanted answers in the death of 27-year-old Jameek Lowery. As the crowds got out of control, media reports said officers used Mace on some people.
Lowery, who lived in Paterson, initially called 911 around 2:45 a.m. Saturday, claiming he had taken ecstasy and was paranoid. He also said people, including police, were trying to kill him.
Lowery eventually went to the police department and shot a sometimes-incoherent video of himself before he was subdued and taken to the hospital. The officers maintained their distance while Lowery streamed cellphone video on Facebook and attempted to calm him.
When Lowery told them he was dehydrated and needed water, the officers told him they were not allowed to give him some, but someone is heard telling him, "The hospital has water."
The Passaic County prosecutor's office has said Lowery was unresponsive when he arrived at the hospital and died early Monday. Authorities say Lowery had to be restrained during the trip by officers who used "physical force and compliance holds" to secure him.
A cause of death has not yet been determined. But authorities say hospital records indicate he had no acute injuries. The ride took five to 12 minutes, and by the time he arrived he was unresponsive, the prosecutor said.
The prosecutor's office is investigating. Three police officers involved that night have been placed on administrative leave.
"They will do the autopsy, everything will come up and then we'll know where we stand and the answers will be given to you," Paterson Police Director Jerry Speziale said. "I want you to have those answers. Right or wrong I want you to have those answers."