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Family Sues NYPD for Allegedly Suffocating Mentally Ill Woman to Death


Posted on Apr 23, 2012

A tense battle is being waged between the New York Police Department and the family of a mentally ill woman who died on March 15.

According to the Gothamist, the family is now suing the NYPD and the four officers who visited 30-year-old Shereese Francis in her Jamaica, Queens home the day she died.

Her family called emergency services for medical attention. When the officers arrived, they allegedly followed the frightened Ms. Francis through her home until they cornered her in the basement bedroom. Her family members claim to have seen her struggling to breathe as she was held down before she went into cardiac arrest. Emergency responders could not revive her and she was transported to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. The condition of suffocation due to being pressed down is known as compression asphyxia.

Her family has since sued the police department and has run into some trouble obtaining information under the Freedom of Information Law on NYPD. Now we know that their records have Ms. Francis dying on arrival at the hospital. However, emergency room personnel claim she had been dead an hour and a half before arrival. The Internal Affairs Bureau also investigated and found "nothing to support the claim that the woman was suffocated."

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Gerry Oginski
NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer