Positional Asphyxiation Archives
Excessive force cause of death in Pittsburgh case
Dr. Wecht recommended that homicide charges be filed in the case of a Pennsylvania man who died in December after being restrained by police officers during a party near Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports.
The incident occured in Dr. Wecht's own Allegheny County, where he serves as Coroner. The victim, Charles A. Dixon of Altoona, Pa., was being restrained for interfering with the arrest of his brother who was being arrested for, of all things, sticking his hand in a spaghetti bowl on a buffet table.
Dr. Wecht drew comparisons between the cause of death in Dixon's case and the Jonny Gammage case from 1995. He concluded Dixon died from positional or mechanical asphyxiation, which occurs when pressure is applied to the back of a person in a prone position.
Moreover, according to the paper, Dr. said some degree of forced pressure was applied to Dixon's back to further compromise his breathing, despite contradictory claims made by several officers that no pressure was ever applied to the back of Dixon.
See Wecht: Charge police in Mount Oliver death , Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
July 29, 2003 | Permalink
Danielle van Dam
Time of Death