PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Officials say they have concluded that the January death of a Paterson, New Jersey, man was caused by a medical event, not police use of force.
The Passaic County prosecutor’s office says 27-year-old Jameek Lowery called 911 multiple times on Jan. 5, saying he had taken ecstasy and was paranoid.
Around 3:45 a.m., he showed up at police headquarters, saying someone was trying to kill him. In a video Lowery posted on Facebook, he can be heard yelling for water, and he appeared sweaty and seemed to be foaming at the mouth.
An ambulance arrived at police headquarters, but officials say when police and fire personnel escorted Lowery to the ambulance, Lowery started to fight the officers who were helping him. The prosecutor’s office says officers punched Lowery in order to restrain him and handcuff him to a gurney.
Lowery was taken to a local hospital, where he died on Jan. 7.
There were protests in the days following Lowery’s death as some questioned if police brutality was involved.
In a statement released Monday, the Passaic County prosecutor’s office says they conducted a thorough investigation and determined his death was not the result of any action by police.
Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh released the following statement Monday:
“I want to once again express my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Jameek Lowery. As you may know, Jameek Lowery, age 27, of Paterson, New Jersey was pronounced dead at St. Joseph’s Hospital on January 7, 2019 after being transported there by the Paterson Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services two days earlier on January 5, 2019.
Since that time, the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, under the supervision of the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, conducted a thorough investigation into the series of events immediately preceding Mr. Lowery’s untimely death, including interactions with Paterson Police Officers and Firefighters. The State’s Regional Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of his death.
On August 12, the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office advised that the investigation concluded that Mr. Lowery’s death was a medical event and not the result of police use of force. The conclusion of the investigation at this time does not bar the Passaic County’s Prosecutor’s Office or any other law enforcement agency from reviewing additional evidence that may arise in the future.
My thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Lowery Family.”
The medical examiner concluded Lowery’s death was caused by cardiac arrest during active psychosis while under the influence of bath salts. His death was ruled accidental.