The city of Cleveland has been reeling from high profile cases of the use of excessive force. Today comes news of the death of a young man in police custody in the neighboring city of Akron that is troubling to say the least, because the official report of the events is so astounding.
A 17-year-old boy’s death while he was in Akron police custody has been ruled a suicide, the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office said Monday.
Xavier McMullen died of a gunshot wound to his head Friday while he was detained in a police cruiser. Officers found a .45-caliber gun near him in the back seat, police said.
McMullen’s hands were cuffed behind his back when the shooting happened, Akron police Capt. Jesse Leeser said Monday at a press conference.
Investigators have not said whether officers searched McMullen for weapons before they put him in the police cruiser. Leeser declined to discuss the department’s polices and procedures for patting down suspects, but he said circumstances may dictate when those searches occur.
The officers placed the three suspects in separate police cruisers while they continued to interview witnesses. One of the officers returned to his police cruiser a short time later and found McMullen dead, Leeser said.
Several witnesses confirmed McMullen was alone when the shooting happened, Leeser said.
So many questions come to mind. How can someone who has his hands cuffed behind his back get a gun and shoot himself on the head? How can it be that someone who is arrested on suspicion of armed robbery is not thoroughly searched for a weapon before being placed in a patrol car? How can it be that the suspect is left alone? How can it be that a verdict of suicide can be arrived at within three days when the facts as stated are so bizarre?