Back in March, police pepper-sprayed an ex-con when he reached for his asthma inhaler while being questioned. He later died from the asthma attack and the city medical examiner has declared it a homicide. Now prosecutors are considering filing charges against the NYPD officers who sprayed 37-year-old Kemp Yarborough on March 8, the Daily News reports. "I want justice for my husband," his widow, 39-year-old Erica Coleman-Yarborough told the News. "He was having an asthma attack, but instead of helping him, these officers pepper sprayed him."
Yarborough had previously served eight years in prison for a 1990 murder conviction and was arrested in 2005 for possessing a weapon and a controlled substance, but his wife insists he was reformed and was working as a security guard.
The fateful night in March police were questioning Yarborough about a nearby street brawl. They claim he had drugs on him when he died, but the NYPD has yet to give a full account of the incident (or name the officers involved). According to News sources Yarborough began having an asthma attack as he was being questioned and reached into his pocket. But instead of helping the 6'4", 300-pound man, officers sprayed him with pepper. "He went down like timber," Yarborough's lawyer says. "He told them he couldn't breathe. After five to 10 minutes, he started foaming at the mouth and eventually died."
Police officers finally performed CPR, but it was too late. The medical examiner says that the cause of death was "acute bronchial asthma during a physical altercation including pepper spray." Reportedly prosecutors in the Bronx and the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau are investigating the incident.