Family files wrongful death suit against Columbus Police

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The family of a man who died nine days after he was in police custody filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Columbus Division of Police seeking $2 million in damages.

In the lawsuit filed Thursday, it says excessive force used by CPD officers contributed to Jaron Thomas’ death.

“He was 36 years old. Young, healthy, loving guy,” said Chana Wiley, Thomas’ sister.

On January 14, 2017, Thomas called 911 asking for help. He told the dispatchers he had taken cocaine and his chest was pounding.

“I feel like I’m going to get shot and I’m really paranoid,” Thomas told a 911 dispatcher. “I keep hearing these voices.”

According to a police report, three Columbus police officers, Darren Stephens, Chase Pinkerman and Michael Alexander, used excessive force to restrain Thomas.

According to the report, officers struck Thomas twice on the right side of his face and kneed him him on the right side of his body, placing him in a hobble strap. At some point Thomas lost consciousness.

Officers claim Thomas was combative and contorting his body, struggling with officers.

Nine days later, Thomas died at Riverside Methodist Hospital.

The Franklin County Coroner ruled Thomas’ death as accidental. The report says he died from lack of oxygen to his brain caused by cardiac arrest and cocaine-induced delirium due to excited delirium syndrome.

A spokesperson with Columbus Police says they have not received the lawsuit and it would be inappropriate for them to comment at this time.

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