A 57-year-old man died Thursday while in the custody of San Francisco police.
Police said Filimoni Raiyawa of Sonoma County, Calif. stopped breathing after he was apprehended following a car crash. At the time, Raiyawa was wanted for the fatal beating of an elderly man who had been in his care, though it is not clear from reports if police knew that when they arrested him.
Early Thursday morning in San Francisco, the minivan Raiyawa was driving allegedly rear-ended a BMW. The other driver said Raiyawa made “incoherent” comments, according to police. The driver called police, and two female officers responded to the scene shortly after.
Reports the San Francisco Examiner:
“He threw one officer to the ground and punched another officer several times,” said
Northern Police Station Capt. Greg McEachern at the scene Thursday morning.
Raiyawa then crossed Pierce Street and banged on the door of the IHOP. By this time, more officers had arrived — six to eight ended up at the scene — and managed to handcuff Raiyawa in front of the Surf Motel.
Police called an ambulance, and said Raiyawa began to experience a “medical emergency” while waiting for the ambulance. He was having trouble breathing, so police they turned him over and administered CPR. “He was handcuffed,” said McEachern. “They realized that he wasn’t breathing.”
Medics arrived about 10 minutes later, but Raiyawa was already dead. The cause of death remains unknown.
A witness told the Examiner that the two officers, who sustained non-life threatening injuries, had “really whacked the sh*t out of him,” and that Raiyawa might have been saying, “Stop hitting me.”
After he was handcuffed, police reportedly summoned an ambulance, but Raiyawa suffered a “medical emergency” resulting in his death, according to The Press Democrat. Officers, and later paramedics, gave him first aid and CPR, but he was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the news outlet. The death is being investigated by the police department’s homicide detail and its internal affairs unit, along with the city’s District Attorney’s Office and Medical Examiner’s Office.
Meanwhile, the man he is alleged to have severely beaten, 96-year-old Solomon Cohen of Occidental, Calif., died of his injuries at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. Cohen was a World War II veteran and a retired doctor. Raiyawa reportedly lived with him as a caretaker.
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