NORTH CHICAGO, Ill. (CBS) — A police audio tape has surfaced in the case of a North Chicago man who died after he was beaten by police.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, the tapes were obtained by an attorney for Darrin “Dagwood” Hanna’s family.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports
Hanna, 45, died a week after he was taken into custody Nov. 6 on a domestic battery charge. Police punched Hanna in the head and used a Taser on him before he was arrested.
Six arresting officers say they resorted to force when a belligerent Hanna resisted handcuffing.
But on the tape, seconds after an officer can be heard on the audio saying “Calm down. It’s over. It’s over,” Hanna frantically screams what sounds like, “I was down, I was down. Don’t kill me.”
“I want people to hear these tapes,” said Hanna family attorney Kevin O’Connor, who obtained the files under the Freedom of Information Act. “They’re going to hear a victim, not someone combative with police.”
Twelve seconds elapse between the time police can be heard crashing through the door of Hanna’s darkened apartment and the time a successful handcuffing is signaled, according to the ISP report, by the words: “It’s over.”
“There’s no panic in the officers’ voices,” O’Connor said. “It’s pretty clear they felt no threat.“
After Hanna screams, the audio is interrupted by a period of “clicking” during which time no voices can be heard.
Prosecutors said an independent investigation by Illinois State Police revealed the officers who punched Hanna and subdued him with a stun gun acted properly after he threatened the officers as they responded to a domestic dispute.
“Based upon the facts gathered by the Illinois State Police investigation and a review of the applicable Illinois Law, the police utilized reasonable force to subdue and arrest Mr. Hanna,” the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office said last month.
Hanna’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of North Chicago, claiming the officers beat and shocked him for 20 minutes. They also claimed he did not resist arrest.
But the prosecutors’ report said Hanna lunged at police officers and tried to bite and head butt them. It also said 911 records indicate police called for an ambulance for Hanna less than two minutes after entering the apartment.
State police determined the domestic dispute began when Hanna’s pregnant girlfriend received a call from a female friend and Hanna believed the call was from another man, according to the prosecutors’ report.
Hanna allegedly became enraged and threatened to kill his girlfriend and her unborn child. At one point, he forced her to strip naked and get into a bathtub, and pushed her head under the water, prosecutors said.
When police arrived, Hanna came out with his fists clenched screaming “shoot me,” and tried to bite and head butt officers when they tackled him and continued to resist until officers punched him in the face, shocked him with a stun gun, and hit him in the legs with a baton, prosecutors said.
Police narratives vary on what happened after Hanna was handcuffed. They stopped struggling with him, reported officers Jayson Geryol and Gary Grayer. Geryol said Hanna was rolled on to his left side and complained he couldn’t breathe. Officer Tristin Borzick said he and the other officers stood up and that they brought Hanna to a sitting position.
Borzick noted that Hanna’s face was bloody and that he was conscious, but groggy, mumbling and incoherent. Yost observed Hanna kept slumping over and said he left the apartment to clean and disinfect his bloody forearm. Officer Marc Keske reported “a pool of blood by Hanna’s head” and said he was moaning.
“To me it’s unquestionable that something happened between the time Darrin was secured and still had the ability to talk and the time rescue arrived,” O’Connor said. “Something physical happened to him that caused him to be incoherent and unable to speak. And the only people with him were the police.”
A coroner’s investigation and autopsies found that Hanna died as a result of “multisystem organ failure” brought on by “multiple blunt trauma” and other health problems, including sickle cell.
North Chicago Mayor Leon Rockingham has said that the six officers involved in the arrest will remain on desk duty until an internal investigation is complete.
The Lake County News-Sun contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)