For the second time in less than a month, a Bronx man has died while in NYPD custody. Police were sent to Mario Ocasio’s University Heights apartment on Monday around 8:15 a.m., after his girlfriend told dispatchers that he was high and behaving erratically. According to the New York Times, officers found him brandishing a pair of scissors, and one shot him with a Taser when he refused to drop them. He was then handcuffed and treated by Emergency Medical Workers, who gave him a medication “to calm him down.” (The Daily News says he was also injected with a drug that’s used to reverse the effects of heroin.) Ocasio went into cardiac arrest in the ambulance, and he was pronounced dead at the hospital at 9:50 a.m.
The city medical examiner has yet to determine the cause of death and if the Taser played a role. Ocasio served 19 years in prison for the attempted murder of a police officer, and two years for robbery. He’d been arrested on drug charges seven times.
Israel Adam Burns, a lawyer representing Ocasio’s family, claims he was also beaten and police are lying about what took place. “He did put [the scissors] down,” Burns said. “They still beat him viciously.”