Police: Man who acted erratically died after being taken into custody

Posted: Updated:
MINEOLA -

Authorities say an Inwood man who was acting erratically and threatening violence early Saturday morning stopped breathing after being handcuffed and later died.

Police say they were called to 36-year-old Walter Perez's home on Doughty Boulevard for a disturbance around 2:20 a.m. The home is a multifamily residence. 

Police say that when two officers arrived, they were told by another resident of the home that Perez was in the basement acting violently. The resident said Perez was screaming and breaking things. When officers went downstairs, they say Perez was naked, apparently drunk, and was covered in his own blood and waste. 

Police say the two officers tried to get him to calm down so they could take him to a hospital, but say they were verbally threatened and that he picked up a "dangerous instrument." Officers did not specify what the instrument was.

Investigators say the officers tried to physically subdue him, but were unable to do so. That's when one officer used a Taser, which officials say had no effect on Perez. Another officer also deployed her Taser, again with no effect, according to police.

Police say Perez continued to be aggressive toward the officers. Three more officers and a paramedic to respond to the scene. 

They say the officers were finally able to subdue Perez and he was placed in handcuffs, and that's when police say he stopped breathing. They say the cuffs were removed and officers tried to revive him, but he died a short time later at the hospital. 

The medical examiner will determine the exact cause of death. 

Nassau Detective Richard LeBrun says there was "no other choice" but to use a Taser in this scenario.

Police say five officers were taken to the hospital because they were exposed to blood, saliva and feces. 

The state Attorney General's Office has opened an investigation into the incident because it occurred during a confrontation with police.

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