PD: Man dies in police custody near University Heights

Posted at 6:16 PM, Apr 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-27 13:24:55-04

CINCINNATI -- A man died in police custody Wednesday afternoon, after he refused to spit out a bag of suspected drugs, police said.

Police, including a SWAT unit, served a "high risk" search warrant in the 2800 block of West McMicken Avenue at about 4 p.m. Wednesday. A warrant can be designated high-risk based on a suspect's history, known possession of weapons or the number of people believed to be in the space being searched.

In this case, the warrant was high-risk because the suspects involved were believed to have been trafficking heroin.

Josten Bowen

Three other people were taken into custody without incident, Assistant Police Chief Paul Neudigate said. Josten Bowen, 31, was also placed in custody, but refused to spit out a bag officers noticed him holding in his mouth.

After repeated requests that he spit it out, an officer sparked a Taser in the air in an attempt to get Bowen to comply, but did not use the Taser on him, police said in a news release. Bowen eventually spit the bag out, but it was punctured. He soon became unresponsive.

Firefighters came to the scene and attempted to save Bowen, but they were not successful. 

Police recovered 257.81 grams of suspected heroin, 102.77 grams of suspected crack, $3,516 in cash and a loaded Glock 9 mm handgun with a 30-round extended magazine, according to a news release.

The police department will now conduct an administrative investigation into the cause of the man’s death, Lt. Steve Saunders said in a news conference. The baggie was sent to the coroner's office as part of the investigation, and the autopsy and toxicology reports were pending, according to a news release.