David “Levi” Dehmann

Name: David "Levi" Dehmann
Died: April 23, 2015
Age at death: 33
Cause of death: Head injury; during police restraint
Location: Columbus, Ohio, USA

Details:
Levi was a single father to a five-year-old daughter; the child's mother had died three months ago.

Levi had reportedly been drinking when police took him into custody for "disorderly conduct". He was drunk and said he had hit his head, so officers transported him to a hospital. The pre-existing head injury, which officers knew about, may have contributed to Levi's death after the second arrest.

He was released and, later that day, re-arrested when he was found drunk in public again.

A video of the incident shows Levi entering the police station quite peacefully, talking to several police officers. Eventually, as he walks down the hall past the security camera, Levi points at an officer and appears to say something. Another officer reacts to this by taking Levi down backward in what the deputy calls a “takedown hold”. This hold slammed his head into the concrete and caused a fatal head injury. He died after two days in the hospital.

Levi had a criminal history of petty offenses, but local law enforcement was aware that he had autism, ADHD, and Tourette syndrome. His stepmother said he "had his issues in the past, but he didn't deserve to die because of this."

Editor's note: Autopsy results have not been made public, but I find it likely that Levi was a victim of second impact syndrome. When a person who has recently suffered a concussion is hit in the head again, the brain can undergo serious swelling, which can result in death. Second impact syndrome is rare, but it is the reason why athletes sit out for a week or more after a concussion. Any previous head injury, especially a recent one, makes a person more vulnerable to suffering another.

References:
David “Levi” Dehmann
Autistic Man Dies After Ohio Deputy Uses Takedown Hold In Jail
State investigating man's death in Knox County Jail
Father Upset After Son Dies In Police Custody
Deputy Kills Autistic Man For Disorderly Conduct by Smashing His Skull
Second-impact syndrome

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