At times a Police Officer must use reasonable force with respect to the level of resistance they meet when apprehending a suspect. Some may find the videos associated with this incident disturbing.
Out of approximately 6,000 pages medical documents collected in this case the court concluded, "Ms. Anderson (Mother of Mr. Warren) cited little to no evidence supporting her claim that Officers conduct resulted in Mr. Warren suffering a crushed trachea".
Blytheville Police Department records were made available to the Arkansas State Police, FBI and Department of Justice and all determined there wasn't enough evidence of wrong doing on behalf of Blytheville Police Officers to open an investigation against them or the Department. The internal investigation conducted by the Blytheville Police Department concluded that there were no policy violations.
Mental Health and Illicit Drug Abuse
Mental health, with illicit drug abuse has become a national crisis. Requiring Law Enforcement to continue to engage those as in this case:
only increases the chance of a tragic outcome for all. We must focus our efforts on prevention. If you or someone you care about is suffering and need help click here.
Summarization of Events
The following is a summarization of information pertaining to this event. Links to the original documents are provided.
Background The events in question occurred in Blytheville, Arkansas, between 7:59 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on Saturday September 29, 2018. It was well after sunset and dark outside. At approximately 7:59 p.m., Officers of the Blytheville Police Department responded to a call about an unknown man at a house in the 900 block of Hearn Street trying to “snatch the door open.” Officers spoke with a resident who explained that the encounter with the unknown man “was scary” and that the man's “eyes were big,” as if the man “was on something.” The resident described the man as a Black male wearing a blue shirt. Officers searched around the outside of the house but did not find the man.
While Officers were still on Hearn Street, dispatch received several calls concerning a man matching the same general description knocking on doors on Walnut Street. Officers left Hearn Street and contacted a caller on Walnut Street. The caller stated that a man was knocking on doors and asking for help. The caller directed Officers toward 8th Street, which is where the man was last seen. En route, Officers received yet another call from dispatch that involved the unknown male. This time, dispatch relayed information about a man who was screaming for help behind a Church. There is a Church on the corner of 8th Street and Walnut Street.
Officers located a man fitting the given description at approximately 8:08 p.m. at the southeast corner of Main Street and 7th Street. The man was 29-year-old Rayshawn Warren. As it turns out, Mr. Warren suffered from a history of bipolar disorder. He also had a documented history of drug use and meth abuse. Indeed, on the night in question, Mr. Warren tested positive for amphetamines.
Officers attempted to approach Mr. Warren saying, “what's going on, man,” and “come here.” Mr. Warren responded “no.” Officers told Mr. Warren two more times to “come here.” Once again, Mr. Warren responded “no” and then started running down Main Street. Officers pursued Mr. Warren. At approximately 8:08 p.m., Officers made physical contact with Mr. Warren.
Twenty-three minutes later, Officers determined that Mr. Warren did not have a pulse and began CPR. Mr. Warren never regained consciousness. What happened during those twenty-three minutes, and specifically whether Officer conduct was reasonable, are the primary questions. Body Video 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Call for Service 201816246 Saturday September 29, 2018, 201816246 CALLER ADV THAT A MALE WITH A BLUE TANK TOP HAS BEEN BEATING ON HER DOOR AND CAUSING A DISTURBANCE. SHE ADV THAT SHE IS UNSURE IF HE IS STILL ON THE PREMESIS
Criminal Incident Report Saturday September 29, 2018, Blytheville Police Department report 2018-02400 U.C.R.: 13B -RESISTING ARREST FELONY SUSPECT(S) WARREN, RAYSHAWN J. As previously narrated, officers responded to an unknown male knocking at the door trying to get in… reported a Black male in a blue shirt knocked on the door and tried to push his way into the house... reported he was acting strange and believed he was on something… Dispatch received other calls concerning the subject knocking on doors on Walnut Street. Warren was transported to the Great River Medical Center and later transferred to St. Bernard's Hospital in Jonesboro. Blood samples were collected at the Great River Medical Center. An affidavit was filed on Warren for public intoxication, fleeing on foot, and for failure to submit to arrest. Body worn video is available for this incident.
Criminal Incident Report Released to News Media Monday October 1st, 2018, printed Tuesday, October 2, 2018, the following are reports from the Blytheville Police Department. Saturday, Sept. 29 — Police arrested Rayshawn Warren on resisting arrest, public intoxication and fleeing on foot in the 900 block of Hearn. Report published as previously narrated.
Search Warrant Obtained Wednesday October 3, 2018, a search warrant was issued for the medical records of Rayshawn Warren held at the Great River Medical Center in Blytheville AR. Great River Medical records revealed Warren had both THC (Marijuana) and Amphetamine in his system, Clinical Impression: Altered Mental Status / Meth Intoxication. No other injuries noted
Warrants for Warren’s Arrest Issued Wednesday October 3, 2018, warrants for Warren’s arrest were issued by the District Court on the charges of Public Intoxication, Fleeing on Foot, Disorderly Conduct, and Resisting Arrest (Physical).
Outside Agency Assistance Requested, Arkansas State Police, FBI, DOJ Case #: 2018-02400 Supplement Date of Entry: Saturday, September 29, 2018, Officers contacted the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigations Division regarding this incident and spoke with Special Agent Shawn Riegal who was briefed about what had occurred. The Blytheville Police Department stayed in contact with ASP about the case over the following months. The Arkansas State Police ultimately did not open an investigation as the cause of Warrens condition was not directly contributed to the officers’ actions and or it was not an in-custody death. Documents show that on November 6, 2018, the Blytheville Police Department provided the FBI field office in Little Rock with all body worn videos in this case. They were sent to the Department of Justice in Washington D.C. for their review. No civil rights violations were noted and there was no subsequent investigation by the FBI or Department of Justice. By April 3, 2019, no civil rights violations were noted and there were no subsequent investigations by the FBI or Department of Justice.
Lawsuit 1 Filed. Tuesday October 30, 2018, TAWONA ANDERSON, GUARDIAN / ESTATE OF RAYSHAWN WARREN. Lawsuit 1 Dismissed. On July 26, 2021, the court granted summary judgement for the Department and Officers on all matters and the case was dismissed. The court also noted in their findings that Ms. Anderson cited little to no evidence supporting her claim that Officers conduct resulted in Mr. Warren suffering a crushed trachea.
Press Release. October 31, 2018, The attorney representing the family of Mr. Warren made a press release concerning the filing of their lawsuit and a release from the Blytheville Police Department which contained documentation / information that countered the lawsuit claims.
Lawsuit 2 Filed Thursday November 1, 2018, TAWONA ANDERSON, GUARDIAN / ESTATE OF RAYSHAWN WARREN. Lawsuit 2 Dismissed. On November 1, 2019, the court found no violations on any claims and granted summary judgement for the Department and Officers and the case was dismissed with prejudice.
Lawsuit 1 Appealed Filed after July 26, 2021, TAWONA ANDERSON, GUARDIAN / ESTATE OF RAYSHAWN WARREN. Lawsuit 1 Appeal Dismissed On October 18, 2021, the following judgement was rendered, appellant's motion to dismiss the appeal is granted. The appeal is hereby dismissed in accordance with the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure 42(b). The Court's mandate shall issue forthwith. The motion for extension of time to file the brief is denied as moot.