• Lawsuit: Man left in ‘permanent vegetative state' after incident with police officer

    By: Siobhan Riley

    Updated:

    BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. - A lawsuit filed against the Blytheville Police Department in Arkansas claims an officer’s actions left a man “with a crushed trachea and in a permanent vegetative state.”

    The lawsuit was filed against the Blytheville Police Department in the Circuit Court of Mississippi County by attorneys Jim Harris and Zach Morrison, according to a release from Morrison. 


    Below are the following individuals and departments named in the lawsuit:
    •    Blytheville Police Department
    •    Officer Doyne Driskill
    •    BPD Chief Ross Thompson
    •    City of Blytheville

    The alleged incident happened on Sept. 29, according to the lawsuit.

    According to attorneys, Rashawn Warren was walking up to a home at the corner of West Main Street and 7th Street when Officer Driskill allegedly yelled at him and said, “come to me.”

    The lawsuit claims after Driskill yelled the second time, Warren said “no” and began running down the street.  The officer caught Warren and used an “arm bar restraint,” which attorneys say resulted in the crushing of Warren’s trachea.

    According to a police report listed by the lawsuit, another officer was giving Warren chest compressions when emergency responders arrived on scene. Warren was taken into custody and taken to the hospital. 

    The lawsuit claims that hospital emergency room personnel determined Warren’s injuries were “so extensive and severe” that he had to be taken to St. Bernard’s Medical Center in Jonesboro. 

    Attorneys said Warren remains in a “comatose, vegetative state” since the incident on Sept. 29. They also said his medical bills are estimated at around $250,000. 

    Attorneys said they requested the footage from police officer body cameras, but they claim Blytheville police has not responded to their request.

    FOX13 reached out to the Blytheville Police Department for a comment. They provided two incident reports involving Rayshawn Warren, including one from September 2017.

    The PD also released body camera footage from one incident -- which showed a homeowner apparently telling police about a man trying to force his way into her home. She is heard saying "his eyes was big and he was scary... looked like he was on something" when describing the suspect who police say was Warren.

    Below is a full statement from the police department: 

    In response to a lawsuit that has been filed against the department and city, on Monday October 2nd 2018 the Blytheville Police Department released a criminal incident report involving 29 year old Rayshawn Warren of Blytheville. The incident occurred on Saturday September 29, 2018 at approximately 8:00 pm after the department received calls regarding a subject knocking on doors and trying to push his way into the residences.  A description of the subject later identified as Warren was given including that he was acting strange, he scared them and they believed he was on something. 

    Officers located Mr. Warren a few blocks away, he fled on foot; he was combative and physically resisted their attempts to detain him. During the encounter Officers believed he was in a state of excited delirium where subjects display extreme mental and physiological excitement characterized by extreme agitation, hyperthermia, hostility, exceptional strength, and endurance without fatigue. This condition is often the result of drug use or overdose, and can cause cardiac arrest.  

    Officers called an ambulance to the scene. Mr. Warren was conscious and continued his combative behavior towards the medics. After medics arrived Mr. Warren went into cardiac arrest and was transported by ambulance to the Great River Medical Center Emergency room in Blytheville where they were able to stabilize him. Mr. Warren was later transported to another hospital facility. 
    Medical records show that Mr. Warren had amphetamines and THC in his system the night of the encounter and was described by medical staff as having an altered mental status due to meth intoxication.  Medical records also indicate that Mr. Warren received treatments known to counter act the effects of amphetamines.  

    Blytheville Police Officers are equipped with Body Worn Video Cameras that were active during the encounter Members of the Blytheville Police Department contacted the Arkansas State Police the night this occurred and we have asked them to look into it. This is an active and ongoing criminal investigation and no further information can be released at this time. 

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