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Massachusetts Man Dies as Police Execute Drug Search Warrant

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #674)
Drug War Issues

A 21-year-old Fall River, Massachusetts, man died last Friday afternoon shortly after police executing a search warrant in a drug investigation entered his apartment. It was the 13th death to occur during a drug law enforcement operation so far this year in the US, and the third in Massachusetts.

Fall River Police Department
Police told the Fall River News that detectives with the Vice and Intelligence Unit were executing the search warrant when they encountered the man. As for the circumstances of his death, police said only that "detectives located the man and at some point he went into cardiac arrest." At some point, police called paramedics, but he was later pronounced dead at Saint Anne's Hospital.

Police did not name the man, but a poster in the comments section of the article linked to above identified him as Dennis Mendez, 21. The anonymous poster, writing under the user name Kei24, appeared to say that Mendez had tried to swallow drugs and choked to death as police stood and watched.

"My brother was struggling to get away from the police," Kei24 wrote. "He wasn't fighting them they did find somethin but no one was charged... we was begging the police to help him because his hand, feet and lips were purple and they just kept saying that he was fine and the drugs that he was trynna swallow was pulled out of his mouth once paramedics got there my brother was dead in less then 2 mins that the police broke down the door they just made jokes about it and were saying he was fakin it... He was human just like the rest of us and they treated him like a dog."

But in a Tuesday interview with WPRI Eyewitness News, Mendez' sister, Keila Lebron (Kei24), said that while Mendez had swallowed crack cocaine, that's not what killed him. "She claims officers immediately began beating him, and Mendez lost consciousness," the station reported.

Fall River Police said the Massachusetts State Police Major Crimes Division, the District Attorney's Office, and the State Medical examiner will conduct an inquiry into the death.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Andrew .L (not verified)

this is veryyy sad..=( it hurts me to beleive we have officers like this but its all soo real because ive been through the same ....Cops dont care about us they just wanna make as many arrests as they can to get a bigger budget...

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 4:17pm Permalink
Deilla (not verified)

In reply to by Andrew .L (not verified)

The ignorance of people kills me. Fuck yall. Do you know the man who will walk to the end of the earth for his family, the man who would help any kid with their homework, the man who would give u tthe shirt off his back? The kid had just came home n nobody was feeding him n puttin a roof over his head or trying to give him a job. People so quick to blame a small dealer blame the government me n my bro dont own planes n boats yall bring this sh%t here. he didnt force anyone to smoke crack n he damn sure never sold a drug to a kid! Yall need to pay attention to this corruption thats how the drugs is gettin here us regular people get searched boarding planes. Dumb people like u think inside the box. Im offthis $$$Dee$$$ R.I.P JOKA!!!
Tue, 03/08/2011 - 5:33pm Permalink
America is free? (not verified)

They do stuff like this all the time, I have seen at least 3 different videos of police holding down and choking and beating to death 3 different victims and when it's over they say they were trained to do that and they did nothing wrong. Then theres all the videos of cops shooting peoples dogs for barking the second they KICK a door down, like there is even ONE SINGLE dog on this planet that doesnt bark, all of these cops are nothing but a bunch of cowards hiding behind a gun and a badge. They should be brought up on War Crimes charges and the drug war ended once and for all, it is coming!!

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 5:24pm Permalink
joebanana (not verified)

The "war on drugs", is actually a war on American's who don't agree with government's stupid, and unconstitutional policies.

Drug addiction is a medical condition, not a criminal offense. How can anybody believe a government that constantly lies? How can anybody trust a government that kills it's own citizens through a failed policy, and kills more innocent people than any terrorist group? Compare what the US does to what terrorists do, see any difference?

Thu, 03/10/2011 - 12:57pm Permalink
tp (not verified)

Who's the one who put the drugs in his mouth in the first place?????????????? Isn't it common knowledge that you can die from eating crack by overdose???? Did the cops shove drugs down his throat???? I think dealers need to face the consequences when they get busted and quit tryin to eat crack...duh! I think drug laws are dumb too, but they are still laws and if u commit the crime u gotta be willing to do the time. Maybe this will be a learning tool to stop idiot crack dealers from swallowing their product. 

Thu, 03/10/2011 - 1:29pm Permalink
JJ (not verified)

In reply to by tp (not verified)

You a fing moron... drugs in mouth (check) can die with crack by overdose (check) cops shoved drugs down his throat?? (check) dealers have to face consequences "true" (check). Now, get your facts straight, after you swallow "crack" down the throat packed in plastic over plastic, you don't die in 15 minutes for overdose... it easily takes up to 4 hours, if you don't expel it before.... Now a brutal beating, for no reason by people that are supposed to protect us, citizens "Law Enforcement" (((FRPD)))... that's f up... not providing assistance to him, when he was almost gone... because of the brutal beating all over his body... Are you kidding me. Get your fing facts straight... and who knows, who u trying to cover up for... No matter what anybody tries to say on the law enforcement favor,this time around... they made a BIIIIIIIIIIIIIG MISTAKE, THEY MURDERED THIS YOUNG MAN and JUSTICE has to be made... I bet the cops wouldn't want none of their fam. members go through something like this and if did happened, they would do whatever it takes to make justice for their lost LOVE ONE.

Tue, 05/03/2011 - 11:43am Permalink
Ask Alice (not verified)

In this interview, it was said that the 21 year old man begged for helped, but later by  the same person whom witnessed this, said that he was "immediately beaten" and lost consciousness - There seems to be a lot of inconsistencies.   A life was lost and his family and friends will mourn him, while many lives will continue to deteriorate or expire because of Drugs.  We need to be reminded that none of this would have happened if that element (Drugs) wasn't involved.

Mon, 03/21/2011 - 10:52am Permalink
AnonymousMarine (not verified)

You want to know why there are so many terrorists in the world? They are created by monsters in uniforms. 
Lets say this young man who was killed by police misconduct had two children. If I were in their place, I would see the police as what they are, bullies in uniform. They have their own rulebook, and killing people who are not in their gang is okay.
Fast forward 15 years... the son of Mendez is now old enough to join the military and get training. He gets back to Fall River with one thing in mind... killing the pigs that choked his father to death.

May God have mercy on your pig souls. Because the children you beat, and the children of those you murder in cold blood and only receive paid vacation time for, will not have mercy on you


Tue, 03/13/2012 - 4:03pm Permalink

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