Lawsuit alleges choke hold killed man

October 31, 2011 2:54:13 PM PDT
A lawsuit alleges a security guard's choke hold caused the death of a Fayetteville man during a struggle in the Cape Fear Valley Medical Center emergency room.

The lawsuit filed by Andre Walker's mother says he suffered from a mental illness and was taken to the hospital for treatment. A doctor at the hospital decided to admit him, but the suit says Walker became agitated and aggressive with hospital staff.

An attorney for the family told ABC11 that hospital security video shows one of the security guards put Walker in a choke hold and pull him to the floor. Then, three other guards grab him and get on top of him. A few minutes after the struggle, Walker becomes unresponsive. According to the attorney, nearly five minutes elapsed before the emergency room staff made a valid attempt to resuscitate the victim. It was too late. Walker was pronounced dead in the hospital emergency room.

The incident happened April 17, but Fayetteville police didn't become aware until Sept. 6 when the medical examiner's office contacted them with concerns about the way Walker died.

"Our detectives are looking into issues surrounding this incident. And once they've completed their investigation, their findings will be presented to the district attorney who will then make decision at the time on what will happen next," explained Fayetteville Police Department spokesperson Gavin MacRoberts.

An incident report filed by Fayetteville police shows they're investigating the case as a possible negligent homicide.

Fayetteville police have not released the surveillance video from inside the ER, saying it's evidence in their investigation.

Cape Fear Valley Medical Center did not respond to ABC11 for comment on this story.

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