Texas Rangers investigate death of man in Denton police custody after ‘medical episode’

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Texas Rangers are investigating the death of a man who experienced a medical episode while in Denton police custody, according to a police news release.

James Anthony Senase III, identified by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office, died while handcuffed and tied at the ankle after experiencing a “medical episode”, according to police.

Officers responded to a disturbance call around 11:40 p.m. Tuesday after a caller told dispatchers that a man at a hotel in the 600 block of South Intestate 35E was ‘out of it’ and breaking glass, according to the communicated. When officers arrived, they found two shattered hotel room windows with a mattress thrown outside and broken glass on the sidewalk below.

They could hear Senase, the only person in the room, screaming and screaming and calling for medics to stage nearby, the statement said. Officers obtained the room key from hotel staff, who told police they wanted Senase removed from the property and charged with criminal mischief. Officers could hear him continue to scream and scream for help.

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Police say officers entered the hotel room to find blood on the mattress and the disassembled bed frame and damaged bedroom. When they entered the room, police attempted to speak to Senase but said they could not get a coherent response from him and heard more damage occurring in the bathroom.

At one point, Senase pushed a large piece of glass under the bathroom door and officers left the room “to isolate him and give him time to calm down,” according to the statement.

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After about 30 minutes of trying to negotiate with Senase from the hallway, police said in the statement that he calmed down and appeared to them to have calmed down. They entered the room again to find Senase lying on the bed “sweating profusely” and telling the police to shoot him.

They used double-locking handcuffs on him with no resistance or use of force from officers, but the man began to attempt to turn around and kick officers, the statement said. Police said they used a leg restraint, wrapped around his ankles for his own safety. They did not explain in the statement how this was done for his safety.

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After being subdued, the man had a “medical episode and became unconscious”, according to the statement. Doctors who went to the area shortly after the police arrived took Senase to the hospital for treatment, the statement said. Police were informed on Wednesday that he died in hospital.

Police said they are not yet releasing body camera footage of officers at the scene as the Texas Rangers have taken over the investigation into Senase’s death. The Star-Telegram filed an open registration request for the body camera footage.

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