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Two cops on leave after man dies

Dan Morse

Montgomery County police have placed two officers on administrative leave who were involved in an altercation with a 65-year-old man who died Thursday morning. The officers used a electronic stun device and pepper spray on the man Sunday night, and he had been hospitalized since.

It is unclear if Karreem Ali died as a result of the altercation or from a medical condition independent of the confrontation.

At the hospital, test results showed Ali to have a blood alcohol level of 0.32, one of his brothers said in an interview Thursday. But on Sunday night, inside his hospital room, family members could not smell any alcohol, said the brother, Lem Satterfield.

Satterfield said that family members also are frustrated that the Police Department hasn’t told them details of what happened. Satterfield said the family has been unable to get a standard incident report.

Police also haven’t explained injuries to his brother’s forehead and nose, the family said.

“Nobody is taking responsibility for these injuries,” Satterfield said. “We’re frustrated with it.”

His brother had long ago been diagnosed with schizophrenia. “It’s been a struggle for him. He tried to be out on his own,” Satterfield said.

His brother was well-read and didn't seem to be a threat to anyone else, his brother said.

“He was more a danger to himself than anybody,” Satterfield said.

Capt. Paul Starks, a police spokesman, said the department is investigating the matter by talking to officers on the scene, medics and witnesses, and will review Ali’s medical records. “We’re going to go wherever the evidence leads us,” he said.

“I understand them wanting to know what happened," he said of Ali’s family members. “But we have to do a deliberate, organized investigation.”

The incident began about 7:33 p.m. Sunday, when police received a call for a suspicious situation in the 11400 block of Lockwood Drive in the White Oak area. The caller said a man appeared to be on drugs or had “something wrong with him,” according to police.

The first officer arriving encountered Karreem A. Ali, who matched a description given by the caller. She found him in a stairwell of an apartment building.

Ali didn’t respond to the officer’s questions, police said. She tried to escort him out of the stairwell. “Ali physically resisted the officer’s attempts and a struggle began,” police said in a statement.

A building occupant saw the struggle and called 911 to report that an officer needed help, police said. A second officer arrived.

Ali continued to resist, police said. The officers used a “contact-tase” device and the pepper spray, police said. “Ali continued to struggle but was ultimately handcuffed,” police said.

Officers called medics from the county’s Fire and Rescue Service. They treated him and left, police said. While placing Ali in a transport van, police said, officers noticed he was not responsive and initiated CPR. Medics were called again, and he was taken to Holy Cross Hospital, police said.

-- Dan Morse

By Dan Morse  | October 14, 2010; 7:45 PM ET
Categories:  Dan Morse, Montgomery  
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Comments

People, if you see someone "on drugs" or "something wrong with him", call an ambulance, not the police. The police will have to call an ambulance anyway after they kill the guy, so might as well cut them out of the process and give the guy a chance to live.

Posted by: Potter2 | October 14, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Yeah. Poor, violent schizophrenic with blood that was 1/3 alcohol....

Posted by: confounded | October 15, 2010 1:47 AM | Report abuse

allah blew a .32 at his age. muslims consume alchol? contact aclu and lawyer up,while two officers are off the street letting nuts like this run wild

Posted by: pofinpa | October 15, 2010 5:38 AM | Report abuse

“I understand them wanting to know what happened, but we have to do a deliberate, organized investigation" in order to cover up our officerss complete disregard for the life of this poor man. I can't imagine this 65 year old man blowing a .32 and being a threat to 2 police officers. Anyone who thinks different needs to go out and drink a fifth of Jack and get back to us.
This is just another example of the police using excessive force. I hope this man's family sues the county and police department as well as the officers themselves. Another senseless death caused by an overzealous, over-hormonal police force.

Posted by: callmeout | October 15, 2010 6:48 AM | Report abuse

Always call an ambulance not police-I'm a grey haired old-timer and was having problems with a new medication I was on and someone called police rather than ambulance-when they showed up and heard "medicine" probs-they shouted "He's on drugs and got out there clubs and started beating the &*%&% out of me-3-4 of them pounded me while one stood pointing his gun at my head and kept repeating "come on hit us back then I can shoot you!" I did not strike back or course or I wouldn't be here writing this-they kept shaking me awake after each time they knocked me unconscious until finally I woke up on floor of jail cell-charged with assaulting police officers-cops at jail were joking "yeah you attacked our fists with your face!" fortunately got judge who through out charges but nothing happened to cops-got lawyer but he said you can't sue them or anything-just be waste of time...

Posted by: hubler1 | October 15, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Always call an ambulance not police-I'm a grey haired old-timer and was having problems with a new medication I was on and someone called police rather than ambulance-when they showed up and heard "medicine" probs-they shouted "He's on drugs and got out there clubs and started beating the &*%&% out of me-3-4 of them pounded me while one stood pointing his gun at my head and kept repeating "come on hit us back then I can shoot you!" I did not strike back or course or I wouldn't be here writing this-they kept shaking me awake after each time they knocked me unconscious until finally I woke up on floor of jail cell-charged with assaulting police officers-cops at jail were joking "yeah you attacked our fists with your face!" fortunately got judge who through out charges but nothing happened to cops-got lawyer but he said you can't sue them or anything-just be waste of time...

Posted by: hubler1 | October 15, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Potter, your advice is not helpful. Anyone with an emergency should dial 9-1-1 and let the dispatcher determine what is needed at the scene. They are trained to do that.

Posted by: veritasinmedium | October 15, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

sorry about posting twice-'puter acting up-FYI: cops were not DC area but rather rural-have always found DC cops to be helpful...

Posted by: hubler1 | October 15, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Most of those that post on this sight have about the same intelligence level as that of the post editors. Next time YOU need the police, DON'T call them. Then you won't have to worry about what they will do. What a bunch of cry babys who obviously were turned down for police jobs at some point in their lives.

Posted by: gpl2411 | October 15, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

------>gpl2411--Never have called the police and never intend to call the police. I find the majority to be rude and thoughtless. I would never want to be nor would I ever apply to be a police officer. I have too mmuch character for that. And save the whole protect and serve BS for someone else.

Posted by: callmeout | October 15, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

So let me get this straight...the guy's blood alcohol is .32(4X the legal limit!)and may or may not have been on drugs for his psychological issues.
And we're questioning the officer's response?
Given the combination of alcohol intoxication and who knows what type interaction with drugs for his psychological condition(if he was even on any?) who knows what the situation was?
I find it difficult to believe that 2 officers just decide to start thumping away on a helpless drunk.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | October 15, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

wow, I can't believe what i am hearing and reading. As an ex- employer of this man, it is hard to believe some of these allegations. First of all, he was a devout Muslim, He did not and I repeat did not drink. Secondly, even though hhe was mentally disturbed at times, he was being treated with medication and he was a very well educated and understanding man. Something went seriously wrong here and MC Police need to give the family answers and not try to put up a smokescreen. We all make mistakes, let's admit to them so we can move on. that's why these officers need to know people in these communities, there has to b more interaction between the citizens and tose who are to protect and serve. I'm sura Ali was not armed, I'm sure if someone had exercised patience and talked to him like a human being and not an authority, Allah is his authority, then we probrably would not have had to come to this tragic ending of this man's life. This is a travesty and could have and should have been avoided, not easily but truly avoided!!! Lem and Family, I love yaand will keep u up in prayer!!!!!! Peace bro Ali, now u r truly at rest!!!PBUY

Posted by: burnette_w | October 15, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

wow, I can't believe what i am hearing and reading. As an ex- employer of this man, it is hard to believe some of these allegations. First of all, he was a devout Muslim, He did not and I repeat did not drink. Secondly, even though hhe was mentally disturbed at times, he was being treated with medication and he was a very well educated and understanding man. Something went seriously wrong here and MC Police need to give the family answers and not try to put up a smokescreen. We all make mistakes, let's admit to them so we can move on. that's why these officers need to know people in these communities, there has to b more interaction between the citizens and tose who are to protect and serve. I'm sura Ali was not armed, I'm sure if someone had exercised patience and talked to him like a human being and not an authority, Allah is his authority, then we probrably would not have had to come to this tragic ending of this man's life. This is a travesty and could have and should have been avoided, not easily but truly avoided!!! Lem and Family, I love yaand will keep u up in prayer!!!!!! Peace bro Ali, now u r truly at rest!!!PBUY

Posted by: burnette_w | October 15, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

So because some guy is totally wasted, fights the police and then dies we should automatically put the police officers on the defensive? Maybe as an old guy he should have known better to do these things unless he is in great shape.

Posted by: Youasked4it | October 15, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Frankly, tasers should be recognized as deadly force. Arlington County has had four instances of taser use in the past year; two of the men died. Let's understand that tasers are no different than pulling the service revolver, particularly for those over the age of 40.

Oh, and for the comment about "blood that was 1/3 alcohol," its acually 1/3 of a percent. Think about your teabagger taxes: you'd be glad for the guvumint took 1/3% of your $100 paycheck; that's $0.33. 1/3 of your paycheck is $33.33, a difference of $33.00. Also, .08% is the limit for driving, which is a lot more dangerous than, say, fumbling around in a stairwell.

Posted by: RogerRamjet2 | October 15, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

When did MoCo police department start hiring the Prince George's rejects?

I suppose I will have to use I-81 to avoid being killed by Maryland police.

Posted by: chklbrry | October 15, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

"Karreem Ali" hugh?? I wonder if the outcome would have been the same if his name had been "Connor Smith"

Posted by: dc4life | October 15, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Is "electric stun gun" the new WaPo euphamism of TASER. Why not just go with "enhanced interrogation technique" instead?

Posted by: hohandy1 | October 15, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Pepper spray and a Taser on a 65 year old man?!! Are you kiddimg me? If he had asthma, COPD or heart problems (swhich are pretty much the norm in 65 year olds) a combination of pepper spray, tasering and rough treatment could easily kill him. I don't believe the alcohol bit. He was a Muslim and even if he was drinking, anyone at .32 would have a hard time standing up, much less fighting two police officers. This story STINKS!!

Posted by: PepperDr | October 15, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Let's be honest here, folks. All taxpayers are marginally better off without the likes of Mr. Ali hanging around for decades, sucking up resources from Medicare, Social Security and other entitlement programs.

In fact, police everywhere shold be trained to taze first and ask questions later whenever they confront a drunken, out-of-control loudmouth senior citizen.

Posted by: NorplantNow | October 15, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

callmeout: must be a lawyer.

Posted by: gpl2411 | October 15, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Seems to me that is premature to be pointing fingers in any direction but this does once again raise the issue of whether the police need better training and better tools to deal with psychological and medical emergencies. It is not unusual for a family to call 911 for EMS and the police are dispatched first. EMS is directed to stage until the scene is secured. Few cops ever go in looking to beat up an epileptic, diabetic, or psych patient, but they are trained to use reasonable force to “control” the situation and protect themselves, the EMS providers and bystanders. Unfortunately, reasonable force tends to escalate when the patient is “uncooperative” whether that is because they are truly combative or because they literally can’t comply due to a medical or psychiatric emergency.

That said, I still believe MC county cops are, as a whole, among the most professional LEOs to be found anywhere and they don’t deserve much of the criticisms found in these posts. It’s understandable that the family wants answers, but answers have to wait for a fair and objective investigation.

Posted by: MdLaw | October 15, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

They key ingredients in pepper spray are Capsaicin (the active component of chili peppers) and alcohol. Over-exposure to pepper spray and skin absorption can lead to a person having a blood alcohol level even when they have not been drinking. As a social worker I am discouraged to hear all of the negative criticism of this man and his mental illness. What happened to compassion and understanding? What happens if you or a relative becomes that man? Mental illness does not discriminate, but many bloggers obviously do. All public servants should have better training about de-escalating situations without using deadly or near-deadly force. Muslim or no Muslim...Older man or younger man...black, white or other; neither of these distinctions should play a role in the humane treatment of people. Anyone who thinks differently should be ashamed of themselves.

Posted by: bunnylovek | October 15, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

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