Black man dies in struggle with California police after calling for help: media

September 30, 2016 7:05 PM EDT

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By Eric M. Johnson

(Reuters) - A black man who died after a physical struggle with police in a southern California home made an emergency call to Pasadena police because he needed help and suffered from bipolar disorder, his partner told a Los Angeles TV station on Friday.

His death comes as police in the San Diego area released a videotape of a fatal shooting by officers of another black man, 38-year-old Alfred Olango, who died in El Cajon on Tuesday as he grappled with what his mother said was a mental breakdown.

Friday's incident in Pasadena, and Olango's death after his sister called 911 seeking help, highlight the risks of a system that relies on police officers to respond to mental health crises.

The slayings were the latest in a string of deaths of black men caused by police officers in the United States that have led to protests over racial bias in the American criminal justice system.

Local broadcaster KTLA reported that Shainie Lindsay, who identified herself as the man's partner and said she witnessed the incident, said he was bipolar.

"He called the police on himself. He wanted help," Lindsay told the TV station.

Pasadena Police officers came to the home regarding a "domestic disturbance" early on Friday morning, the department said in a statement. Police said officers encountered the man, whom they have not identified, and said he refused orders to drop a knife he was holding.

After a stun gun failed to subdue him, a fight ensued, Pasadena police said. No shots were fired.

Officers saw he had stopped breathing as they were restraining him and switched to a life-saving CPR procedure, the department said. The man died at the scene.

Lindsay said after he was shot with a stun gun, the man tried to move to a bedroom that he locked behind him. The officers pried their way into the room and wrestled with him, kicking his head and hitting him with a baton, she told KTLA.

"Then, after that, they was doing CPR and then he was dead," Linsday told KTLA.

A representative for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Guillermina Saldana, said homicide detectives were involved in the investigation.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)



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