Ohio Man Dies in Police Custody After Traffic Stop, Sparking Investigation

The Ohio Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) has been asked to investigate after a man died in police custody following a "violent" struggle with officers.

The man was identified by local media outlets as 38-year-old Kevin Duncan, of Springfield.

Duncan had been stopped by officers for a traffic violation on Saturday evening, Peak of Ohio reported.

Bellefontaine Police Chief Brandon Standley said a "violent altercation" occurred after police pulled the man over in the 500 block of East High Avenue at around 6:20 p.m. and directed him out of his vehicle.

The altercation injured an officer, Standley said.

Standley said that when back-up officers began to arrive at the scene, the first responding officers were the police department's K9 team.

They encountered a man "exhibiting aggressive behavior" and a K9 bit the man before officers were able to detain him, Standley said.

"K9 Boodik was deployed to help gain control of the man. The man was bitten by Boodik before eventually being detained," he said.

Standley said that shortly after the man was handcuffed, he began having "a medical emergency."

Police stock
Stock photo. A man died in custody after officers with the Bellefontaine Police Department in Ohio. Getty Images

Paramedics arrived shortly after and began treating Duncan and the injured officer.

Multiple does of Narcan—a medication used to stop or reverse the effects of an opioid overdose—were administered to help revive the man, but they were not successful, Standley said.

He was pronounced dead at Mary Rutan Hospital a short time later.

The officer who was injured was treated and released from the same hospital. Standley said he will make a full recovery.

Standley said the police department asked the BCI to investigate the incident.

"The Ohio Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation was requested by the Bellefontaine police department to investigate an in-custody death that occurred Saturday evening," Steve Irwin, a spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General's office, told Newsweek. "BCI's investigation remains active and ongoing."

An autopsy and toxicology results are pending, Peak of Ohio reported.

According to the Bellefontaine Examiner, Standley did not answer questions about the department's policies on physically restraining suspects or whether the department had any previous in-custody deaths.

The newspaper reported that Duncan has a lengthy criminal history dating back several years, including previous convictions for offenses including drug possession and robbery.

He was convicted in Logan County Common Pleas Court for third-degree robbery and third-degree felony drug possession in 2012, fourth-degree possession of drugs in 2017 and misdemeanor failure to comply with police in 2019.

Bellefontaine Police has been contacted for additional comment.

Update 3/22/21, 8:15 a.m. ET: This article has been updated with a comment from the Ohio Attorney General's office.