New Ruling Decade After Man's Death Following Violent Arrest

Coroner says 20-year-old Brett Katzenmoyer's death is homicide
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2017 1:55 PM CDT

(Newser) – Ten years after Brett Katzenmoyer died following a "violent struggle" with New Jersey police, a county coroner has classified the 20-year-old's death as a homicide, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Katzenmoyer was drinking beer with friends outside an OAR concert in 2007 in Camden when a woman told police officers Katzenmoyer hit her in the chest. In a police report, officers Ronald Lattanzio and John McArdle say Katzenmoyer refused to put his hands behind his back and swung at them. After subduing Katzenmoyer, the officers took him to a hospital. A hospital security guard says Katzenmoyer was threatening to sue the officers, and McArdle hit him repeatedly in the face to "shut him up." The guard says McArdle also “beat [Katzenmoyer] in the face, from the nose to the eye" while the 20-year-old was restrained.

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Katzenmoyer suffered a concussion, broken nose, and more, NJ.com reports. He was sent home from the hospital but died days later from heart and renal failure. The coroner at the time ruled a cause of death "could not be determined" because Katzenmoyer had morphine and sleeping pills in his system. His family has been fighting that ruling for years, getting the new county coroner, Gordon Eck, to re-examine the case. On Thursday, Eck changed the cause of death to "homicide." Katzenmoyer's mother says she's "just grateful that someone finally ... did the right thing." She plans to ask the prosecutor's office to reopen the investigation. Katzenmoyer's family received a $750,000 settlement from the city in 2013, but the officers were never disciplined. (Read more police brutality stories.)

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