JAMESTOWN, N.Y. (WIVB) - A Jamestown family wants answers after 30-year-old Charles Baker died while in police custody. Investigators say he suffered a medical emergency after officers shot him with a stun gun.
The Chautauqua County District Attorney's Office says Baker was arrested by the Jamestown Police Saturday afternoon for a violation. Police say later Baker tried to dispose of several baggies of cocaine in the back seat of a patrol car, and one fell from his person while in the booking room.
While being processed, authorities say Baker became physically combative, which was when police say they had to use a stun gun to subdue him. Authorities say he was only stunned once, and then he was placed in a secured jail restraint chair.
About two hours later, authorities say Baker had a seizure and was taken to the WCA Hospital. An hour and a half after that, authorities say he had a second seizure at the hospital. Another hour and a half go by, and police say Baker suffered a third seizure and then passed away.
Chautauqua County District Attorney David Foley says the Jamestown Police Department have been cooperative with the investigation. Police Chief Harry Snellings says his officers did everything by the book.
"We spent the morning reviewing the tapes and we have no concern with any use of force issues," Chief Snelling said.
News 4 spoke with Baker's family Monday morning. His fiance Sue Ann Gifford says when she went to the county coroner's office to see his body, they told her she couldn't see it until the autopsy is complete.
Gifford says the coroner also said Baker's body was absolutely horrible and that she probably wouldn't want to see him. Baker's cousin Lisa Morrow says hearing that Baker might have resisted arrest doesn't sound like something he would do.
"He never tried to do anything that wasn't respectful. If he did it. He owned up to it." Morrow said, "He was a very good person. He'd do anything for anybody. He'd give you the shirt off his back if you needed it."
Baker's body is undergoing an autopsy in Buffalo Monday. The Chautauqua County District Attorney says he will wait for the autopsy results before making any decision on how to proceed in the case.
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