LYNNWOOD — A 57-year-old man died Monday night while being detained by police north of Lynnwood.
His death has prompted an investigation by the Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response Team. The team of detectives reviews cases where officers use fatal force or when people die in police custody.
The incident started about 8 p.m. in the 13900 block of Admiralty Way, said Edmonds police Sgt. Josh McClure, a spokesman for SMART.
A 911 caller requested medical assistance at a home for a man who was exhibiting strange behavior and acting confused. Medics from Snohomish County Fire District 1 arrived on scene and asked for help from the sheriff’s office, McClure said.
Two sheriff’s deputies responded, and the man was handcuffed. At some point, he became unresponsive. Resuscitation efforts were not successful.
Both deputies have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure after a death. One deputy has nearly five years’ experience with the sheriff’s office and nearly 10 years in law enforcement, officials said. The other deputy has worked 10 years for the sheriff’s office, according to a news release.
No additional information about the death was released Tuesday. The county medical examiner’s office is expected to conduct an autopsy.
SMART investigations often take six months to a year to complete. After police close the case, each death is reviewed by Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe. Roe is tasked with determining whether the use of force was legally justified.
Two SMART investigations have been launched earlier this year after police shootings, both in the Lake Stevens area. Those two cases involved men who were reportedly suicidal. One was killed, and the other survived. Both of those cases are pending Roe’s review.
The last reported in-custody death in the county occurred September 2015 on the Tulalip Indian Reservation. Cecil Lacy Jr., 50, had a heart attack after being shocked with a stun gun and pinned to the ground. His family recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit in King County Superior Court.
Lacy had a history of mental illness. The lawsuit alleges that he died while experiencing “excited delirium,” a state of agitation often documented when people die in police custody, particularly in cases of mental illness or substance abuse.
Lacy’s family indicated they were seeking millions of dollars in damages. The lawsuit is ongoing.