Family and friends have blamed police for the death of a 65-year-old Nigerian, Chief Balentine Mbegbu who died in custody on October 6, 2014 in United States.
NigerianFM, an online radio station based in New York and reporting news about Nigeria yesterday reported that the Phoenix Police have been accused of complicity in the shocking death Chief Mbegbu.
The Phoenix police claimed late Chief Balentine attacked the officers who responded to a 911 call, however, the entire family of late Chief Balatine Mbegu told the online media, that the police lied.
Phoenix police said Wednesday they were conducting an internal investigation following the death of Balantine Mbegbu.
“Police responded to a 911 call at 9 p.m. about a fight in a home in the area of Glendale and 27th avenues.
“When police arrived, things quickly escalated, and by the end of the night, Mbegbu was in a hospital morgue.
Mr Mbegbu became physical with responding officers and forced them to react.
“Mbegbu fought with officers, spilled hot liquid on them and kicked an officer in the groin, according to investigators.
“Mbegbu backed the officer across the room and assaulted him,” a police statement said.
Sgt. Jonathan Howard declined to be interviewed about the incident.
“Shortly after being detained, Mr. Mbegbu showed signs of medical distress,” according to a Phoenix police statement.
“Officers immediately recognized this, removed the handcuffs, began first aid, and called for Phoenix Fire to assist.”
Paramedics took Mbegbu to a hospital, where he died.
Police said they were “committed to ensuring a complete and thorough investigation into this incident to determine the circumstances of Mr. Mbegbu’s death.”
The Rev. Oscar Tillman, president of the Phoenix NAACAP, said he’s not suspicious that the officers did anything wrong.
“The reason I don’t think it’s suspicious … is that the wife is the one who opened the door and let them (the officers) in,” he said.
But critics of the department, including the Rev. Jarrett Maupin, a Phoenix activist and unsuccessful candidate for Congress, were planning a protest at 2 p.m. today at City Hall.
Maupin said Mbegbu’s wife simply answered the door when they knocked, and then the police barged in.
“He became both angry and inquisitive about why the police were there, as any normal person would,” he said.
Maupin said that according to the family, the officers were the first to get physical.
“They handcuffed him face-down, and he begins to foam at the mouth,” he said. “At this point, 911 hasn’t been called yet. They roll him over and attempt several times to sit him up.”
Maupin said the police had not been forthcoming with details since the incident.