Kane County Coroner Rob Russell released his report Monday on the death of 31-year-old Joshua Paul, nearly three months after the Carpentersville man's autopsy was performed.
Paul died Aug. 18 at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin, a few hours after being arrested following a traffic stop and scuffle with two Carpentersville police officers, according to the coroner's report.
The cause of Paul's death is listed as "hemoperitoneum," or internal bleeding. Russell said Paul suffered a "laceration of the portal vein complicated by cirrhosis of the liver due to chronic alcoholism."
But the manner of death is still listed as "undetermined" because the Illinois State Police Public Integrity Task Force has not completed its independent investigation. Because of officer involvement, Carpentersville police asked for the state agency to investigate.
State police spokeswoman Monique Bond said the agency is expected to submit its report to the Kane County state's attorney later this week.
"The ISP does not make any ruling or recommendations," Bond said. "The role of the ISP is to gather and present the facts regarding use of force so that the state's attorney's office can make a determination."
Russell viewed a video of Paul's arrest and said he did not see the arresting officers use excessive force when Paul attempted to flee from the officers.
The Daily Herald requested copies of the video and the arrest reports from the Carpentersville Police Department under the Freedom of Information Act but was denied. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office ruled that the videos and documents were public records and should be turned over, but the village refused to comply. The state police also refused to turn over the documents.
According to Russell's report, Paul's blood alcohol content was .356 when it was drawn at the hospital. That's nearly 4½ times the legal limit to drive.
Russell's report stated that his office's investigators were told by the arresting officers that Paul's vehicle was spotted leaving a liquor store, and when they ran his license plates it was determined that the owner was wanted on an outstanding warrant.
Paul tried to flee police on foot when they attempted to arrest him, but the officers wrestled him to the ground and restrained him, according to Russell's report. Paul suffered a cut to his chin and an ambulance was called. Paramedics reported Paul was conscious and alert on the drive to the hospital.
Paul received stitches for the cut to his chin, but his condition worsened in the emergency room and eventually doctors told his family that the prognosis was "grim," according to the report.
The coroner's report also details at least two stints Paul spent in the hospital in the year leading up to his death for liver problems, one lasting more than a month. The medical records indicate a history of alcoholism, hepatitis C and hemochromatosis -- a disorder that accumulates too much iron in a person's body -- and that Paul was suffering from "end-stage liver disease."
Paul's brother, Chris, said he was unaware of his brother's alcohol abuse. When asked if his brother was an alcoholic, Chris Paul said, "I don't think so."
Attempts to reach the Paul family's attorney were unsuccessful, as was an attempt to reach Joshua Paul's fiance Jeff Bolek.
Dave Bayless, a spokesman for Carpentersville, said both officers involved in Paul's traffic stop and arrest have remained on "full duty" since Paul's death. And despite the release of the coroner's report, village officials have chosen to continue to violate the state's open records law by refusing to release the arrest reports and video, citing the ongoing state police investigation.
"When everything is complete, everything will be released properly and with due respect to everyone," said village trustee Kay Teeter, who said she supported the village's decision to ignore the edict from Madigan's office.
• Daily Herald Staff Writer Susan Sarkauskas contributed to this report.