Raleigh Police: man who died in custody had bag in stomach

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A Raleigh Police report said Curtis Mangum had a torn plastic bag in his stomach when he died. (Raleigh Police Department)

A preliminary report from the Raleigh Police Department said a man who died in police custody January 11 had a torn plastic bag in his stomach.

Curtis Mangum, 32, of Raleigh, died after officers took him into custody following a traffic stop the night of January 10. Police said Mangum appeared to exhibit signs of "medical distress" after the arrest on drug-related charges.

Warrants were obtained against Mangum and another man, Dextro White, Jr, 40, for possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana, possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

White was also charged with carrying a concealed weapon and with keeping and maintaining a vehicle for the purpose of keeping and selling cocaine and marijuana.

The report, which is procedure for deaths which occur in police custody, said detectives were working an active narcotics investigation when they stopped a suspect vehicle after a traffic violation in the 400 block of Rose Lane.

RELATED: Read the full five-day report (.pdf)

White was driving and three passengers, including Mangum, were in the vehicle. Officers reported they had told occupants to remain still and keep their hands visible until police could check the vehicle for weapons.

White and two other occupants followed directions. Mangum, police said, did not. Mangum stuck his right hand out a window and his left hand in his jacket.

After another order to make his hands visible and stop moving around, Mangum reportedly stuck his head, both arms and upper torso out of the window of a rear passenger door. Officers then handcuffed Mangum and searched him.

Police said they found 28 grams of a green, leafy substance believed to be marijuana, half a gram of a rock-like substance believed to be cocaine and a digital scale. A loaded semi-automatic handgun and six magazines for that weapon were found in the glove box of the vehicle. Mangum was transported to the Raleigh Police South-East District Station.

In the six minutes between leaving Rose Lane and arriving at the station, police said Mangum had become less steady and quieter. Officers called for EMS because of concern about Mangum's behavior. Officers said Mangum walked to meet EMS, climbed onto a stretcher and was transported to WakeMed. He was admitted at approximately 11:53 p.m. His condition worsened until he was pronounced dead at 2:40 a.m. January 11.

The Medical Examiner's office reported to police that the torn plastic bag was found in Mangum's stomach. The only other sign of injury noted was a small scrape on one of Mangum's shins. A full autopsy is expected to be released at a later date.

No video was captured of Mangum's arrest or transport that night. Police said the initial traffic stop was conducted in a car without a camera. The vehicle that transported Mangum to the police station was equipped with a camera; however, the camera was not recording because the officer did not activate his blue lights.

This surveillance image shows Curtis Mangum being helped to a waiting stretcher for treatment.

A surveillance camera at the police station did show Mangum arriving at and leaving the facility.

Several officers were put on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation into the events of that night.

Those officers were named as Detectives J.D. Rattelade and R.P. Monroe, who initially spotted White's vehicle, Senior Officer K.L. Potter, who stopped the vehicle, Sergeant J.H. Etheridge, who called for EMS, Master Officer J.M. Midgette, who transported Mangum to the police station, and Senior Officer W.A. Lane, who was also involved in the initial stop.

Curtis Mangum's family called for an independent investigation of the circumstances surrounding his death.
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