Bus rider, 68, dies after clash with Maryland Transit police

A 68-year-old man died Tuesday morning after a struggle with Maryland Transit Administration police investigating a report of an attack on a bus driver in West Baltimore, authorities confirmed.

MTA officers were called to the 1100 block of Cloverdale Road about 5:45 a.m. for a report that a "man with a cane" was assaulting the bus driver and another rider, according to Paulette Austrich, an MTA spokeswoman.

Austrich said the man was being combative and went into cardiac arrest when four officers attempted to restrain him. She said he was revived through CPR and taken to Maryland General Hospital. About four hours later, he went into cardiac arrest again and was pronounced dead, Austrich said.

She said the officers involved have been put on administrative duties and placed under a "command review," which is agency protocol.

The death investigation, meanwhile, was referred to the Baltimore Police Department's professional standards and accountability bureau to "allow a transparent and independent investigation."

"This is the first custodial death we can remember," said MTA police Chief John E. Gavrilis in a statement. Gavrilis, who spent 26 years with the Baltimore Police Department, has led the transit police force since 2004.

Baltimore police said they could not release the identity of the man who died until relatives had been located and notified. Austrich said the man has a "history of emergency petitions," most recently Aug. 9, 2013.

Such petitions can allow authorities to involuntarily hospitalize people suspected of having mental disorders and being violent or suicidal.

Austrich said the officers and the bus driver were being offered "counseling to deal with the traumatic situation of a death that occurred during the course of duty."


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