How Does a Handcuffed 17 Year Old Strangle Himself in the Back of a Police Car?

After a 17 year old suspect died in the back of their patrol car, police in Indiana unbelievably claim that the handcuffed teenager strangled himself with his own seat belt.

Here is the video:

Three burglars, two juveniles and an adult, broke into the Madison County Shrine Club in Anderson, IN looking to loot the club’s booze stash. The burglars triggered the clubs alarm, and police arrived to find the three suspects and two trash barrels of alcohol. The suspects fled to the roof when the police arrived, and were eventually talked down. They were then handcuffed, and put into the backs of three different patrol cars.

The three individuals were left alone in the patrol cars, because police claim that they needed to go back in and investigate the building. When police returned to the cars, they claim that they found the body of a 17 year old male suspect, who had strangled himself with the car’s seat belt. Police claimed that the suspect had moved his handcuffs from the back of his body to the front and used the seat belt to strangle himself.

Police Chief Larry Crenshaw couldn’t explain why the suspects were left alone in the police cars, “How long a period of time can someone remain in the patrol car by himself without an officer there? Well there are several factors involved in that, and it’s part of the investigation that I cannot release right now.”

Crenshaw also wrote the young boy’s death off as a tragedy, “It’s very tragic for the family members of the young boy. You respond to the crime, you try to do the police functions as you can and in a situation like this, it’s tragic for the police department, for the officers involved and for the community.”

The police explanation doesn’t make sense on numerous levels, but the biggest question is how does a 17 year handcuffed boy strangle himself with a seat belt? The next question is how dumb do you think we are?

The police arrest a teenage burglary suspect. They leave him alone in the back of the patrol car. They come back and he’s dead. It is important to keep in mind exactly what this young man was arrested for. He didn’t harm anyone. He wasn’t facing life in prison or the death penalty. He and some friends wanted to steal some alcohol and probably get drunk.

It is possible that this young man was suicidal, after all, we don’t know what he was thinking, but the more likely explanations for his death are either police brutality or negligence. Try to replicate the position of the victim and you will see that it is nearly impossible to strangle yourself on the seat belt, unless the belt is intentionally placed around your throat.

There are also gaps in the police timeline. Why won’t the police tell the public if it is common departmental procedure to leave suspects alone in the back of the patrol car, or how long the suspect was left alone?

The police are hiding something. It is easy to paint all law enforcement officers with a broad brush and label every single one of them heroes or villains, but in this case the facts don’t add up.

A seventeen year old boy is dead under suspicious circumstances, and the police aren’t telling us the whole story.

Police Chief Crenshaw, please explain to us how a handcuffed 17 year old strangled himself in the backseat of one of your patrol cars.

11 Replies to “How Does a Handcuffed 17 Year Old Strangle Himself in the Back of a Police Car?”

  1. Another one? First it’s a left handed guy with his hands cuffed behind him who shoots himself in the right temple and second, now a handcuffed kid hangs himself from the seatbelt strap? Sounds like the cops have turned into defacto executioners.

  2. There was a certain Sicilian method of so tying a victim that he was eventually forced to engage in self-strangulation; it’d be interesting to know if it could have been something like that (I believe a sublethal form of it has been used at Abu Ghreib and Guantanamo)

  3. Since when are there seatbelts in the BACKSEAT of a patrol car?!? I’ve been in the back of plenty… NEVER seen a seatbelt.

  4. It can totally happen. I was a cop for 11 years and I’ve seen it myself. I put a guy in the back of the patrol car, handcuffed and seatbelted in. I then ran back inside to help another officer take custody of a second individual who was combative. I helped get that person into the officers car and then returned to mine. My suspect had been trying to get the handcuff from the back to the front and in the process got so tangled in the seatbelt he was starting to choke. I was able to get to him before he was injured, but he could have died if it had taken me a couple more minutes to return. It’s easy to judge if you’ve never spent a minute in an officers shoes.

  5. I’m sorry but the attitude of law enforcement is that when they are dealing with a criminal the word of law enforcement is gospel truth. But when they are dealing with a law abiding citizen that they are trying to bully or intimidate and that citizen makes it politely clear he won’t be bullied or intimidated, law enforcement doesn’t know how to deal with it.

  6. While I don’t trust the pigs one tiny bit (for good reason), at the same time, I don’t discount their claim THIS time.

    Have you ever sat in the back seat of a vehicle? The damned seatbelts ALWAYS go into the “Get tighter” mode… and you cannot loosen them without taking the seatbelt off, completely retracting it, and then putting it back on. I don’t know why they do that, but I don’t think I’ve sat in the back seat of a car or truck YET where you didn’t have the thing always getting tighter (and never loosening).

    When I was riding for any length of period in the back seat, I’d pull the seatbelt out as far as it would go and then tie something on it to keep it extended… so it wouldn’t choke me (and they’ve come close a couple of times).

    I’d rather go without than be choked.

  7. I don’t doubt you, but that means they’re giving you flawed units to work in- in this case, a design flaw. Something not ublicly bruited about was that a defective unit was one of the factors in the Glover-Reddy shooting in Manhattan in ’75; when Reddy tried to exit the unit as the shooter approached, the door locked on him and he was trapped. Bad design and bad maintainance can kill not only suspects, but officers, though carelessness kills still more of both. Either seat belts are going to have to be designed so as not to do that, or the cuffs themselves may have to be fastened to some type of belt so the suspect can’t try to change the position of his cuffed hands. I never worked as police, though my co-author did, but I worked nut.

    All the same, there may be incidents that are deliberate. Sometimes, if the officer is a veteran, he may have been trained in brutal tactics and/or developed PTSD. And cops working rough districts with too few resources, too little backup, or poor morale in the house, can burn out. Every case needs to be looked at on its own merit, because just because three people in a row fell off their balconies in a row because they were drunk doesn’t mean the fourth one wasn’t pushed

  8. Total BS! I’m so sick of these cops who are supposed to be doing “right”, giving the good ones a bad name. A badge gives you no right to kill teenagers for petty crimes. It’s just like that other recent story about the handcuffed kid who shot himself. Yeah right. These cops are nothing more than cold blooded killers & bullies with badges.

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