[Hpn] Fw: [stop-polabuse] dieME11-Cops probed for leaving homeless man to die

Graeme Bacque graeme.bacque@3web.net
Fri, 10 Nov 2000 04:52:51 -0500

----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Novick" <part2001@usa.net>
To: <stop-polabuse@egroups.com>
Sent: Friday, November 10, 2000 4:46 AM
Subject: [stop-polabuse] dieME11-Cops probed for leaving homeless man to die

 Police conduct internal investigation in homeless man's death
 By Associated Press, 11/10/2000 02:16

 PORTLAND, Maine (AP) Portland police are conducting an internal
 investigation to learn whether department procedures were violated when two
 officers walked away from a homeless man who was later found dead.

 The two officers found David Towne, 56, passed out in Deering Oaks Park on
 Oct. 20 but thought he would sleep off his alcoholic stupor. The man was
 found dead five hours later.

 The officers responded just after 1 p.m. after a city parks worker found
 the man in the park's rose garden, between Forest Avenue and State Street.
 Towne appeared to be sleeping and was near a brown paper bag that looked to
 contain a bottle, police Chief Michael Chitwood said.

 The two officers, unable to wake the man, lifted him out of the garden and
 laid him down in the park nearby. Police believe the man was not dead at
 that time.

 ''They feel he's intoxicated and they're going to let him sleep it off,''
 Chitwood said. ''They resume their patrol and the arborist does his work.''

 Police and emergency medical workers returned when they were called from
 someone who walked by the body at 5 p.m. and returned at 6 p.m. to see that
 it had not moved.

 ''The manner of death was natural,'' Chitwood said. ''The cause of death
 was (the effects of) alcoholism.''

 He declined to name the two officers.

 ''My concern is if somebody doesn't respond when trying to wake them up,
 that means there could be a problem,'' he said. ''You should call Medcu.
 Medcu wasn't called initially.''

 Towne was taken to Maine Medical Center but was dead by the time he
 arrived, police said. Police treated the death as suspicious until the
 state Medical Examiner ruled on the cause of death.

 Chitwood said the two officers being investigated are continuing to work
 while the internal inquiry is underway.

 ''We are looking at the actions of the officers when they first found the
 man at 1 p.m.,'' he said. ''Was that appropriate? Was that the right thing
 to do?''

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