Thursday, June 21, 2018
Public safety

Family questions Tampa police account of diabetic driver's death

TAMPA — The family of a diabetic man who died last week after he was detained by officers questioned in a statement Saturday the police version of events.

"We are confident that additional details will emerge to clarify what occurred, and we will follow those facts and details wherever they take us," said the statement, issued by the family of Arthur Green Jr., 63.

On Wednesday, callers to Tampa police said a car was veering down Central Avenue and onto the sidewalk. It sideswiped two other cars.

Officer Anthony Portman, who was the first to arrive at the scene, suspected Green was suffering a medical episode when Green became combative, a police spokeswoman said. Portman called for backup and Tampa Fire Rescue.

Green was placed in handcuffs before medics arrived and he stopped breathing. Officers uncuffed him and began CPR, the agency spokeswoman said.

Green was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital, where he died. He had an extremely low blood-sugar level of just 29, according to a medical report. Police said that, as a matter of course when someone dies in custody, further investigations will be conducted.

Green's family said in the statement it was "informed that he was in handcuffs when he stopped breathing and at some time may have passed before attempts were made by EMTs to resuscitate him. There are other conflicting accounts of the events that ensued while Mr. Green was in police custody."

The family said Green was a husband and father who "has never been in trouble with the law, has no history of violence and was widely recognized for his work in the community."

He was the husband of prominent Tampa Heights community leader Lena Young-Green, whose son, Owen Young, is the principal of Middleton High School.

A viewing is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the Ray Williams Funeral Home, 301 N Howard Ave. A ceremony will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at the 34th Street Church of God, 3000 N 34th St.

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