Federal probe demanded after man dies in police custody
originally by: NJ.com
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.”
Read full article >