ASHLAND, KY (WOWK) – The Kentucky State Medical Examiner’s Office has announced an official cause of death for a man who died in police custody in March.
According to the medical examiner’s office, Clarence Wilkerson died of “Acute Methamphetamine Intoxication in the setting of an attempted arrest where he attempted to elude law enforcement on foot.”
The Kentucky State Police said they were called around 1 p.m., Saturday, March 4, from the Ashland Police Department regarding an in-custody death.
According to the APD at the time, officers saw a man who had warrants out for his arrest. Police said when the suspect saw the officers, he allegedly took off running behind a camper, where he allegedly became entangled and stuck in a fence. The man, later identified as Wilkerson, was then arrested by APD officers.
Officers said while Wilkerson was in custody, he began to complain of “ailments and a medical condition,” and was taken to a medical center, where he later died.
The medical examiner’s office said today that along with the methamphetamine, Wilkerson’s toxicology testing also showed amphetamines and THC in his blood. According to the medical examiner’s office, his medical history also included pre-existing conditions including congestive heart failure, hyperlipidemia and diabetes that “are all contributing factors in his death.”
The Kentucky State Police also released the names of the Ashland police officers who were on scene at the time of Wilkerson’s arrest. They include Officer John McCormick, who has 16 years of law enforcement experience, seven of which are with APD; Officer Chris Brislin who has been with the APD for 17 years; and Officer Tony Floyd, who has been with the APD for 21 years.
On Tuesday, March 7, it was announced that Wilkerson’s family retained nationally-known civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump.
Crump’s law office did not state if any lawsuits have been filed but says a bystander video shows Wilkerson allegedly struggling “for several minutes” during the arrest before officers provided medical assistance, as the bystander told officers of her own concerns for Wilkerson’s health.