in-custody death Friday Oct. 11, when deputies confronted a man who appeared to lose control of himself at a Burger King in Moreno Valley.The Sheriff's Department has released a detailed account of an
The man was in his car in the drive-thru and deputies used pepper spray, a taser, and a baton during their efforts to take him into custody, according to Lt. Joseph Borja and Chief Deputy Patty Knudson of the Central Homicide Unit.
The pepper spray, taser and baton were ineffective and eventually several deputies overpowered the man to get him out of his vehicle, according to the Sheriff's Department.
Raymond Lewis Johnson, 41, of Moreno Valley, apparently stopped breathing while he was hand-cuffed and he was pronounced deceased at 7:19 p.m. Oct. 11 at Riverside County Regional Medical Center, Borja and Knudson said.
Investigators are seeking witnesses who were at the Burger King and may have seen what happened.
Here's the Sheriff's Department narrative of what occurred:
The incident began on October 11, 2013, at 5:56 P.M.,
when officers from the Moreno Valley Police Department responded to
several reports of an adult male sitting inside of a vehicle.
subject was seen violently kicking his feet and striking his fists in
an uncontrollable manner, causing concern to the subjects who reported
The vehicle was parked blocking the drive-thru at a
Burger King restaurant, located near the 23000 block of Hemlock Avenue,
in the city of Moreno Valley.
An officer arrived on scene within minutes and located forty-one year old, Moreno Valley resident, Raymond Lewis Johnson,
sitting in his vehicle.
Johnson is a muscular male adult, weighing
two-hundred sixteen pounds, and six foot three inches tall.
Johnson's physical size and agitated state, the officer requested
additional officers to respond.
While waiting for the additional
officers, the initial officer attempted to communicate with Johnson,
asking him if he needed medical attention. Johnson was unresponsive to
the officer’s questions.
Johnson began kicking both legs against the
interior of his vehicle.
Based on Johnson's actions, behavior and
unresponsiveness, the officer believed he was possibly under the
influence of alcohol, narcotics or both, and a danger to the public if
he was allowed to drive away.
The officer then asked Johnson to exit
the vehicle several times. Johnson acted as if he was unaware of the
Johnson attempted to start his vehicle several
times, but the vehicle failed to start.
At this point, the officer was
afraid Johnson would try to drive away if his vehicle started and
decided he had to remove Johnson from the vehicle for the public's safety.
Due to Johnson's size, his continued violent actions, and the
need to remove him from his vehicle before he drove away, the officer
deployed his department issued Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) spray to the
face area of Johnson.
Johnson coughed for a second and began pulling on
the steering wheel, and again attempted to start the vehicle.
the officer determined the OC spray was ineffective, he un-holstered
his department energy conducted weapons system (X26 Taser), pointed it
towards Johnson, and ordered him to exit his vehicle.
Johnson if he did not exit the vehicle, the taser would be used.
Johnson refused to exit the vehicle, the officer deployed the taser;
however, it too was ineffective.
The officer further tried to utilize
the taser by directly contacting Johnson's thigh twice, which also had
no effect. While the officer attempted to deploy the taser, Johnson
grabbed the officer's hand, attempting to thwart any further
While Johnson continued to resist the officer's attempt to
remove him from the vehicle, Johnson tried to make his way towards the
rear of the vehicle.
The officer was able to stop Johnson from moving
to the rear of his vehicle by holding him against the pillar of the
Additional officers arrived on scene, positioning
themselves at both front doors of the vehicle ordering Johnson out of
Johnson continued to remain uncooperative and began to
hold on to the under carriage of the passenger seat, concealing his
hands from the officers' view.
This created great concern to the
officers, because they did not know if he had any weapons in the
In an attempt to distract Johnson and loosen his grip so he
could be removed from the vehicle, one officer employed his department
issued Rapid Containment Baton (RCB) and deployed several strikes to
Johnson’s right and left upper thighs.
The baton was not extended at
time of deployment to minimize injury.
The deployment of the baton was
ineffective and another officer kicked Johnson in his shoulder area to
loosen Johnson's grip.
A combination of all the officers' efforts to
remove Johnson from the vehicle eventually prevailed. During the
struggle with Johnson, and before he was taken into custody, one of the
officers requested an ambulance to respond.
Johnson was handcuffed
and placed on the ground.
While Johnson lay on the ground, one of the
officers noticed Johnson had stopped breathing.
began C.P.R and Johnson was transported to a nearby hospital.
On October 15, 2013 an autopsy was conducted on Mr.
Johnson by the Riverside County Sheriff’s / Coroner's Office.
preliminary findings determined that Mr. Johnson had a significantly
enlarged heart for a male adult his age.
Mr. Johnson had abrasions
consistent with being involved in a struggle, none of his injuries were
life-threatening. Positional asphyxia was ruled out and a toxicology
report is pending.
It is important to remember we are in the preliminary
stages of this investigation and we are still requesting the public's assistance.
Anyone with more info was urged
to call Investigator Campos of the Central
Homicide Unit at (951) 955-2777, or Investigator Lenton of the Moreno
Valley Police Department at (951) 486-6700.