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Man dies while in police custody in Moreno Valley

The family of a man who died after being taken into police custody in Moreno Valley is demanding answers.
October 12, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The family of a man who died after being taken into police custody is demanding answers.

The confrontation involving 41-year-old Raymond Johnson was caught on video in a Moreno Valley parking lot. Some witnesses say police may have gone too far.

"My biggest question is what happened? I stand here today a widow with no answers," said Lawnda Johnson, Raymond Johnson's wife.

The trouble erupted just before 6 p.m. Friday in the drive-thru exit at a Burger King in Moreno Valley. Police say they were called to the scene for a man who appeared to be in an agitated state, banging his fists and feet uncontrollably and throwing food and money in and out of the car. According to investigators he refused to get out of his vehicle.

"We were working and next thing you know we hear yelling and struggling," said Daniel Calderon, a witness."

Calderon shot the commotion on his cellphone as officers tried to pull Johnson from the car then hit him with what appeared be a baton. Witnesses say the suspect was putting up a fight, but it's what happened after the officers pulled Johnson out the passenger side door that is raising questions.

"You know, 6 or 7 cops on one guy," said Calderon.

Authorities say Johnson stopped breathing after he was taken into custody. Officers were seen giving him chest compression, but he died at the hospital. The coroner will determine the cause of death and if drugs or alcohol may have been a factor.

"What led up to that? What would make you do that? He's one person. There are many of you. I don't know anything. I just need answers," said Lawnda Johnson.

The Riverside Sheriff's Central Homicide Unit is investigating the death.


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