Father: Man cuffed by St. Paul police had heart attack

  • Article by: CHAO XIONG and PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: October 7, 2011 - 7:32 PM

Joseph Garcia, 51, died despite efforts of officers to revive him.

Authorities have not disclosed how Joseph A. Garcia died after being handcuffed by St. Paul police, but his father said Friday that the 51-year-old died of a heart attack.

"All I know is that I got a call from the hospital and he had passed away," said his father, Joseph J. Garcia. "Someone reported him being incoherent. He had a heart attack."

A woman in the 300 block of Ramsey Street called police about 6:30 p.m. Thursday about an argument she was having with a man. It apparently involved drugs, according to police.

An officer approached Garcia in a nearby alley because he matched the description provided by the woman. He did not resist arrest and was handcuffed, but when he sat on a curb, Garcia fell to one side and was unresponsive.

The officer removed the handcuffs, cleared Garcia's airway, and two officers who arrived at the scene started CPR, police said. Paramedics transported him to Regions Hospital where he died, police said.

Many of the details about what led to the argument and Garcia's death are under investigation, said police spokesman Howie Padilla.

A cause of death was not released Friday. Toxicology results are pending.

There were "no obvious signs of trauma" on Garcia, Padilla said.

Garcia grew up in St. Paul and had been living with various friends and at the Dorothy Day Center, his father said.

"He was a good son," said the elder Garcia, who didn't know what his son was doing in that area of Ramsey Street, about a mile from Dorothy Day.

The three officers involved were put on administrative leave, which is standard procedure. They are officers Patrick Murphy, Nicole Rasmussen and Jennifer Mink. Murphy was the first on the scene.

cxiong@startribune.com • 651-735-1762 pwalsh@startribune.com • 612-673-4482

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