06/29/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Tara Monks // Tara Monks
Brooklyn, NY – Two NYPD officers were suspended without pay in connection with the apparent suicide of a prisoner who was being held at the 90th Precinct station house, as reported by the New York Times. The prisoner allegedly hanged himself from the side of a holding cell with the drawstring of his shorts.
James Peterson, 46, was arrested at approximately 6 p.m., Sunday, June 27, after he was accused of punching and choking a female companion. He was found dead at approximately 8:15 p.m.
Departmental policy prohibits leaving prisoners unattended. The regulations also require officers to remove belts, shoestrings and any other item that may cause harm to an inmate.
According to reports, Officer John Wai was responsible for watching Peterson. A police official reported Wai left his station to use the restroom at approximately 8 p.m., leaving Peterson unattended. Wai’s supervisor, Sgt. Ercan Aydin, found Peterson.
Paramedics were called and pronounced Peterson dead at 8:26 p.m.
Wai and Aydin were suspended without pay, pending an investigation. The men served eight and nine years on the force, respectively.
Peterson’s sister, Crystal Peterson, reported she did not believe her brother committed suicide. She explained that his son was murdered a year ago, but disputed that grief could have led to him taking his life. She said in a phone interview, “He didn’t hang himself…He was too smart to do that.”
Crystal Peterson also questions the delay in notification of his death. She claims officers visited the Peterson’s home around midnight to inform his family of his death, which occurred approximately four hours prior.
Phone: (866) 598-1315