NY police boss defends response in custody death

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Posted: Monday, September 1, 2014 7:20 pm | Updated: 7:49 pm, Mon Sep 1, 2014.

NEW YORK (AP) — New York's police commissioner says it appears officers acted appropriately toward a drug user who died in custody after being put in a protective body wrap.

Ronald Singleton's death was ruled a homicide Friday. The medical examiner's office says physical restraint by police was a factor, along with severe intoxication from the hallucinogenic drug PCP and heart disease.

Police say Singleton was acting erratically in a taxi July 13.

Commissioner William Bratton on Monday stressed the term "homicide" is a medical definition and doesn't mean an officer did something wrong. He says the officers were trying to protect Singleton from hurting himself and others.

Prosecutors are investigating. The police department will then do an investigation.

Singleton's death came days before a videotaped chokehold by police left another man dead.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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