Family reacts after man dies in police custody

By Brittany Pieper – email

TEXARKANA, AR (KSLA) – Friday afternoon, Rosie Richard put out pictures of her son, and cried with family because Thursday night, 25-year-old Brandon Daniels, died in police custody.

"He called 911 for assistance. He thought someone was breaking in the house," said Richard.

Around 5:30 Thursday evening, Texarkana, Arkansas police responded to multiple 911 calls from Daniels' home. Daniels had made one of those calls, but when police got there they thought he was the suspect.

"One of the officers even looked in the window and observed a male swinging a cane at an elderly male," said Kristi Mitchell with TAPD.

Police say Daniels attacked his grandfather.  However, his family told KSLA News 12 there was no domestic abuse. When officers heard what they thought was a gun shot, they kicked in the door.

"Mr. Daniels was very combative and belligerent with the officers. He struck both of the officers," said Mitchell.

Then, they used O.C. Spray to subdue Daniels, arrested him, and put him in the police car.  They believe he died in the car somewhere between his home and the Bi-State Justice Center.

"It's maybe 5 minutes from his house to Bi-State. It's not that much, and between that time of him in the back seat of that car and him getting to the police station, he's dead," said Daniels' aunt, Betty Herman.

Police believe he died because of medical reasons, but they won't know the definite cause until autopsy results come back in 4-6 weeks. Daniel's family disagrees. They think the O.C. spray contributed.

"We don't believe that he should have died like that. We feel like he was done wrong, and we want some justice because he was at home doing fine until the police got there and pepper sprayed him," said Herman.

When the family went to try and see the body, it had already been sent to the state crime lab. They're angry and hurt because they feel in some way the police caused Daniels' death.

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