Police have released new footage of a man driving his own vehicle that died after police believed he was a carjacker and placed him in a sleeper hold.
KTVU obtained body camera footage of the incident, which you can view below. Warning: the video is graphic.
In November, David Glen Ward, 52, was spotted by police driving his Honda Civic, a vehicle he reported to be stolen just a few days prior to the tragic incident. He did not let authorities know that he found the car.
Deputy Charlie Blount placed him in a chokehold. Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick said that he will be fired, according to BuzzFeed News. "The way Deputy Blount handles the entire situation is extremely troubling," the sheriff said in a video statement. "As a result, I have served Deputy Blount a notice of termination." He was placed on administrative leave prior.
When officers pulled Ward over, he took off and led them on a five-mile chase, not stopping until one of the officers rammed his car. Ward ultimately sped off a second time and was stopped again.
"The driver, a man, fought deputies as they tried to arrest him for driving a stolen car and evading peace officers. The deputies used a Taser but he kept fighting," Sonoma County's Sheriff Office said in a statement detailing the incident. "They then attempted to use a carotid restraint hold to try to stop him from fighting."
"A carotid restraint hold is a way of controlling a combative person by placing pressure on the carotid artery, which causes the person to lose consciousness," they explained.
Harry Stern, the lawyer for Blount, told BuzzFeed News in a statement that the officer isn't responsible for Ward's death.
"Frankly, Mr. Ward caused his own death by inexplicably taking a number of bizarre actions that confirmed in the deputies’ minds that he was an armed car-jacker, rather than the victim of that crime," he said. "It is my understanding that the medical evidence will show that Mr. Ward had a serious pre-existing condition and had methamphetamine in his system—most significantly, there were no indications of trauma to his neck."
There's no evidence that Ward was under the influence at that time.