Newly released police body camera footage shows the agonizing final moments for a 46-year-old Oakland man who died while being restrained by Hayward police following a late-night traffic stop. Hayward police stopped James Greer on May 23, 2014, around 10:45 p.m. along Mission Boulevard to check on whether he was driving under the influence.
Police were in the process of administering a field sobriety test when Greer stumbled sideways. Police used this as an excuse to pounce on Greer.the man, who was obese, and an apparent struggle ensued.
“What are you doing to me,” Greer is heard saying in the body camera footage. “What are you doing? What are you doing?”
Officers can be heard telling him several times to put his hands behind his back. However, given the fact of Greer’s size, considering that several officers were on top of Greer, he was unable to comply with the demans of the officers.
Police report tazing Greer three times. Then, they applied a restraint device called “The Wrap” designed to safely immobilize a suspect. About 6.5 minutes after putting him on the ground, the officers turn Greer over.
“Nearly 7 minutes went by before anyone tried CPR on Mr. Greer. There’s no sense of urgency. In fact, what they’re doing is they’re joking around,” Fulvio Cajina, attorney for the family, said. About one hour after he was pulled over, Greer was pronounced dead at Saint Rose hospital.
The makers of “The Wrap” wouldn’t comment on this case specifically, but their guidelines say once a suspect’s legs are immobilized, officers should stop pressing on the suspects back. That didn’t happen in this case.
In usual fashion, the the Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau listed the cause of Greer’s death as acute PCP intoxication associated with physical exertion. It mentions nothing about several large police officer violently assaulting Greer, forcing themselves on top of him, or even the almost endless shocking from the stun guns.
One last thing worth mentioning, the police used the Taser in “drive-stun mode”, which is meant to gain compliance through pain. The more common, and less painful, way Tasers are deployed by police is by firing two darts, which deliver an incapacitating electric current, was not used.