Wisconsin DOJ clears Eau Claire police actions during incident after which man died

Wisconsin Doj Clears Eau Claire Police Actions During Incident After Which Man Died
Courtesy: Eau Claire Police.

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WKBT) — A Wisconsin Department of Justice investigation into the death of a 43-year-old man has determined that Eau Claire police officers acted within state and local use-of-force guidelines in the case.

The investigation and autopsy revealed that Demetrio A. Jackson died of anoxic encephalopathy following cardiopulmonary arrest rather than any police actions.

The DOJ’s administrative review, released Wednesday, led to Eau Claire County District Attorney Peter Rindal’s conclusion that the incident after which Jackson died 14 days later was not an officer-involved death.

On Oct. 8, the Eau Claire County Communications Center received a report that Jackson was acting strange and causing damage while standing on top of a vehicle in the 900 block of Harlem Street in the city of Altoona.

Altoona police and the Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office responded to the call.

About 50 minutes later, Eau Claire police officers went to the scene after Altoona police officers called for emergency assistance, according to a statement Thursday from Eau Claire Police Chief Matt Rokus as he released the 16-page DOJ report.

The Eau Claire officers observed Jackson “screaming, and writhing on the ground,” according to Rokus’ statement. “Jackson did not appear to comprehend any officer commands. Eau Claire Police Officers coordinated with other law enforcement on scene to safely take Jackson into custody.”

Officers tried to calm Jackson and make sure to handcuff him without injury.

“During the interaction Jackson complained that he was having difficulty breathing, and officers ensured no pressure was applied to Jackson’s head, neck or chest during the interaction that would impede his breathing,” Rokus wrote.

“At all times Jackson remained conscious and was placed in a recovery position until EMS could safely approach. Because Jackson complained of a medical condition, and based on what officers observed, Jackson was immediately provided emergency medical treatment by EMS,” according to the chief.

EMS transported Jackson to Sacred Heart Hospital, where he died on Oct. 22.

Pathologists discovered Jackson had a pre-existing heart condition, and toxicology revealed methamphetamine in his system, “which by itself, is lethal,” Rokus noted.

The Altoona Police Department routinely requested the DOJ investigation, which was submitted to Rindal for review.

The DOJ investigation report included this conclusion: “The officers’ use of force decision making and use of force actions during this incident directed at Demetrio Jackson were within guidelines of the DAAT manual, Eau Claire Police Department policies and Eau Claire Police Department procedures.”

Police video of incident is below.