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updated: 4/20/2012 12:41 PM

Pathologist: Cocaine caused Aurora man's death in police custody

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  • Jersey K. Green

      Jersey K. Green


A cocaine overdose caused the death of a 37-year-old Aurora man who died last month while in police custody, according to the forensic pathologist who conducted his autopsy.

Jersey K. Green of the 700 block of Fourth Avenue had 13,000 nanograms of cocaine per milliliter in his blood, according to a toxicology report. That amount is 2.8 times the average blood cocaine concentration in 37 cocaine-related fatalities and 150 times the average blood cocaine concentration of 906 impaired drivers, according to the toxicology report.

Green died about 11 p.m. March 12 after being Tasered by police and suffering a seizure in the back of an ambulance, police said.

The autopsy found the Taser did not contribute to Green's death. The three officers who responded and took Green into custody were placed on administrative duty while their actions were investigated, but they now are back to their regular assignments, police said Friday.

Aurora police were called about 10 p.m. to Green's block for a report of a man acting wildly and jumping on parked vehicles.

Officer Matthew Huber found Green on a parked SUV, but Green fled, later jumping atop a squad car driven by officer Greg Spayth, who was arriving as backup. As Spayth exited the vehicle, Green "moved toward him in a threatening manner," causing Huber to deploy his Taser gun, according to Aurora police spokesman Dan Ferrelli.

Huber hit Green in the upper thigh and side with the Taser, then the two officers took Green into custody with the help of officer Enrique Gutierrez.

Because a Taser was used, an ambulance was called. In the ambulance, Green became combative with paramedics and spit out a bag containing a substance that appeared consistent with crack cocaine, police said.

Green stopped breathing about 10:25 p.m. and was taken to Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora where he was pronounced dead.

Following standard procedure for in-custody deaths, the police department's Investigative Deadly Force Team probed the officers' actions and the Kane County state's attorney's office reviewed the case.

Aurora police Chief Greg Thomas said in a news release the investigation and review prove the officers acted appropriately and their use of a Taser did not cause Green's death.

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