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Federal probe demanded after man dies in police custody

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published: 18th March 2012

Nancy Velazquez wants to know why the father of her children is dead. The last time she saw Michael Mercado, the 37-year-old man was struggling with police officers outside their apartment on Oxford Street. He was suffering another episode of bipolar disorder, which he had battled for more than a decade.

As Mercado lay on the ground in handcuffs, Velazquez, 32, was ushered away by police. Three hours later, she was standing in a waiting room at University Hospital, listening to someone say Mercado was dead.

While police internal-affairs investigators probe the circumstances of the Newark man’s death, family and neighbors have called for a federal investigation. They allege he died after an overzealous officer used excessive force in the March 4 incident.

“I want to know what happened. I need to know what happened,” said Velazquez, the mother of Mercado’s three daughters, ages 6, 8 and 14. “Michael was alive and well.”

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Posted by on 26 March 2012. Filed under Custody Deaths & Abuse. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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