Two years since man died in police custody

Two years since man died in police custody

Credit: 13Newsfile

Raymond Chandler died two years ago Monday.

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by By Doug Aronson, 13News Investigator

WVEC.com

Posted on July 15, 2002 at 5:38 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 30 at 3:03 PM

Two years ago, July 15 2000, Norfolk resident Raymond Chandler died while being arrested by the Norfolk police. "Something went terribly wrong. Exactly what it was, I don't think we'll ever know," said his sister Alice Patrick.

Officers arrested the 41-year-old Chandler during a traffic stop at Monticello Avenue and Virginia Beach Boulevard. Apparently Chandler, a large man, couldn't breathe while he was in a bent-over arrest position. Police said they used pepper spray to subdue him. He was then handcuffed. He suffocated.

The coroner ruled Chandler's death was accidental--the result of positional asphyxia.

The officers were cleared of any wrongdoing. However, they still face a $40 million lawsuit by members of Chandler's family. They're suing 10 officers.

What should have been a routine traffic stop developed into a struggle that got out of control. "I don't think there was any intent by police to cause the demise of my brother," Alice said.

But she misses him every day. "I still have his picture on my refrigerator from the last time we were together at a family reunion and I have his obituary on my refrigerator, so I'm reminded daily. I see him daily."

In the wake of Chandler's death, the police moved another officer to Internal Affairs division to help better investigate complaints against the department.

Just two or three of the cruisers have cameras now. That's something that the police chief wanted in all the cars to better document what happens when police and citizens clash.

Assistant City Manager Sterling Cheatham told 13News the city hasn't gotten all the money from a federal grant. "We were hopeful we'd have them installed. We got different various approvals. All we need is the release of money. We expect that any day."

In all, that would be 115 cameras for Norfolk police vehicles.

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