NEW YORK-A black suspect who died from a chokehold while in police custody apparently, according to the coroner who examined the body on Wednesday, suffered from the pre-existing condition of mortality.
Rashawn Williams, the 27 year old suspect, was walking suspiciously with his hands in his pockets when an officer, Warren Stillson, ordered him to take his hands out of his pockets because the white people who were standing next to Williams thought he looked suspicious. At this point Williams asked Officer Stillson what he was doing wrong, and when the suspect did not take his hands out of his pockets in a timely manner, Officer Stillson and three other police officers who were called to the scene tried to subdue Mr. Williams.
Mr. Williams, according to the white witnesses at the scene, then tried to resist arrest, at which point Officer Stillson employed a chokehold in an attempt to subdue Mr. Williams, who, at 5' 11" and weighing 220 pounds, was perceived to be a threat. During the chokehold, Mr. Williams passed out and then died. EMTs at the scene were not able to revive Mr. Williams.
The coroner who examined Mr. Williams testified that the suspect was a heavy smoker who liked to occasionally have a drink. In addition to that, the suspect had a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 30.7, which is considered in the obese range. Said the coroner, Dr. Melvin Rushmore, "We believe that Mr. Williams' heavy smoking and occasional bouts of drinking, in addition to his extreme BMI, would have put him at risk of a fatal myocardial infarction, should he have continued with these habits, at about age forty-five."
Said Officer Stillson's superior, Police Chief Samuel Whitewash, "We don't believe that Officer Stillson should be held responsible for Mr. Williams' unfortunate demise while in police custody, since he was obviously going to die before his time in any case."
When a reporter asked Dr. Rushmore what the second pre-existing condition Mr. Williams suffered from was, the coroner replied, "He was black."