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Man dies in Tulsa police custody after having breathing problems while running from officers
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Man dies in Tulsa police custody after having breathing problems while running from officers

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A Tulsa man died Wednesday evening after he was arrested by Tulsa police officers, the Tulsa Police Department reported Thursday in a news release.

Emmitt Weaver, 44, died at a Tulsa hospital after he reportedly developed “respiratory distress” while running from the officers, the release states.

Two officers were patrolling the area around 31st Street and Memorial Drive just before 7 p.m. Wednesday when they saw three men standing outside a motel on 79th East Avenue. As soon as the men saw the marked police vehicle, two of them started running away, police said in the news release.

Tulsa Police Capt. Richard Meulenberg said the officers were not specifically looking for those three men but just happened to see them run away. According to the news release, the officers were patrolling in “an ongoing effort to reduce gun violence in the area.”

The officers ran after the men who fled, and during the pursuit, they saw one of the men throw a gun away, the press release says.

After running about 400 feet, Weaver stopped near another hotel on 79th East Avenue.

The other man continued running from the officers, who both continued to pursue him until one of the officers stopped to keep Weaver in his eyesight.

When the officer got to Weaver, the news release states, “it appeared as though he (Weaver) stopped running due to respiratory distress.”

Meulenberg said the officer handcuffed Weaver from the front for a short time but, upon seeing the distress he was in, the officer removed the handcuffs so Weaver could continue to use his inhaler.

Weaver asked the officer to call an ambulance, and about 20 seconds after the officer called for one, Weaver collapsed, according to the release.

The officer reportedly started chest compressions on Weaver while another officer monitored Weaver’s breathing and pulse, and an ambulance arrived within five minutes.

Ambulance personnel took over medical treatment, and Weaver was taken to a hospital, where he died, the news release states.

Meulenberg said the officers gave statements about the incident but that there is no active investigation into Weaver’s death other than the official cause-of-death determination by the Medical Examiner’s Office.

Both of the other men were later arrested for obstructing an officer and possession of firearms after previous felony convictions.

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Lt. Virgil Litterell with the Tulsa Police Academy talks about training recruits to become police officers through various hands on scenarios.

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