The mother of Ron Singleton, who died in police custody in 2014, settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the City of New York for $1.25 million.
Singleton’s mother, Rebecca Singleton, accused the New York Police Department of using excessive force in restraining her son.
A taxi driver had called the police to report the late Singleton for acting erratically in the back of a cab. Singleton was, at the time, high on PCP, and screaming at the driver while passing St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Upon arriving to investigate, police officers found Singleton’s behavior unpredictable and aggressive. To better control the large 45-year old man, officers placed him in what the New York Daily News termed a “makeshift straitjacket.”
A month later, the city’s medical examiner’s office ruled the death a homicide brought on “by physical restraint by police during excited delirium.” The man’s obesity and chronic heart condition may also have played a critical role in his death.
When law enforcement officers arrested Singleton, they threw him to the ground, and, according to the lawsuit, “he is reported to have let out a blood-curdling scream and immediately became limp and unmoving.”
Singleton was left face-down on the ground, restrained in a protective body wrap.
Police on the scene purportedly ignored instructions from ‘both EMTs and FDNY paramedics to remove Singleton from the wrap and turn him on his back so he could be evaluated,’ read the lawsuit, as recounted by the New York Daily News.
The 45-year old man and father of three went into cardiac arrest after being loaded into an ambulance. He died a short time later at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center.
The settlement, when approved, will award $450,230 to Singleton’s wife, Lyn Warren. The couple’s children, who were minors at the time of Ron’s death, will receive payments of $151,456 and $192,566, respectively.
The remainder of the $1.25 million settlement will be distributed as attorney’s fees and to Singleton’s mother, with the latter payment being ‘for her services as the administrator of her son’s estate.’
The New York Daily news, in its article on the settlement, mentioned that Singleton had had repeated and plentiful encounters with law enforcement – he had been arrested a total of 61 times, with offenses including weapon possession and assault.
His widow, Lyn Warren, said Singleton had a history of drug abuse and wasn’t good with law enforcement.
“He was never good with police,” said Warren. “He always went into hysterics – this is before he even started indulging.”