by Mitch Perry
The family of the late Arthur Green Jr. released a statement this morning saying that they are consulting with attorney Barry Cohen regarding the circumstances of his death Wednesday afternoon in Seminole Heights.
Green Jr., 63, was suffering from a diabetic episode on Wednesday afternoon while driving along Central Avenue in Tampa. He was arrested after police observed him swerving across both lanes of Central Avenue and ultimately hitting two cars. A TPD spokesman said that after an officer stopped to arrest him, "he became combative with the officer," ultimately needing a second officer to apprehend him. He then passed out after being handcuffed, leading the officers to take the cuffs off and begin administering CPR. But it would be too late. Tampa Fire Rescue did revive him, taking him to St. Joseph's Hospital, but he died there later that evening.
Initial statements released about the incident said Green was driving "recklessly” and that he was “combative” with officers. However, the Green family say they have "reason to be concerned with the accuracy of those and other claims."
"The family was informed that he was in handcuffs when he stopped breathing and at some time may have passed before attempts were made by EMTs to resuscitate him," the statement goes on to say. "There are other conflicting accounts of the events that ensued while Mr. Green was in police custody."
The statement goes on to say that "Mr. Green has never been in trouble with the law, has no history of violence, and was widely recognized for his work in the community," and they are now consulting with Cohen's office before deciding on what they might do next.
Initial medical reports said that Green suffered from severe hypoglycemia. He also had a history of diabetic incidents. The family's statement today says that Green in fact did suffer from diabetes and "he was at some point having a diabetic episode while driving in the Seminole Heights area on Wednesday."
Green Jr. had been married for more than 32 years to Tampa Heights community activist Lena Young-Green.
Two investigations within the TPD are underway, one by internal affairs and one because of the use of force in the incident.
“All indications are they followed the normal protocol,” spokesperson Laura McElroy told the Tampa Tribune earlier this week. “They were emotional at the scene. You become a police officer to help people and they both were very upset they couldn’t help this man.”