Family seeks changes in wake of teen’s in-custody death

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Oct. 1, 2015)-- The family of a teenager who died of a heart attack while in police custody is seeking changes in Indianapolis police policy.

Terrell Day, 18, died of heart failure last Saturday afternoon while handcuffed on the city’s eastside.

Day was being pursued as the result of a shoplifting investigation near Washington Square Mall and was found with an unregistered handgun.

“In this case here, they put the handcuff on very tight behind him and they laid him on his back for what amounted to over forty minutes so he cannot properly breathe,” said Nathaniel Lee who is representing the family in a potential lawsuit. “Despite the fact that he can’t breathe, the police officer signed the statement saying he’s okay and tell the ambulance driver to leave.”

The Department of Public Safety later issued a statement that read, “Day complained of problems breathing and an ambulance was requested. Day did not indicate he wished for any additional medical attention.”

Within an hour of his capture, Day was dead.

“I never would imagine that,” said Shanika Day when asked her reaction to Terrell’s death following a shoplifting investigation.  “If they could’ve saved him and took him to jail, we wouldn’t have had anything to say.”

Lee called for IMPD to change its policies regarding the cuffing of suspects with their hands behind their backs as he said Day posed no threat.

IMPD and Emergency Medical Services conducted investigations into the death.