New York Daily News

August 31, 2014


Man high on PCP who died in police custody responsible for own death, cop union says

While the city medical examiner ruled that Ronald Singleton's July 13 death was a homicide, the head of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association said Saturday the father of four placed his own life in jeopardy by using drugs.


The head of the city’s largest police union said the 45-year-old man who was high on PCP when he died in cop custody was responsible for his own death.

The city medical examiner said Friday that Ronald Singleton’s July 13 death in Midtown was brought on by “physical restraint by police during excited delirium.” Heart disease and obesity were contributing factors, and the father of four’s death was ruled a homicide.

“The single act of using PCP places the user’s life in jeopardy,” Patrick Lynch, head of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said in a statement Saturday. “The responsibility for the outcome lies entirely with the drug abuser, not the police officers attempting to remove him as a danger.”

On the day he died, Singleton, who had 61 prior arrests, was acting “overly irate and irrational” in the back of a taxi near Fifth Ave. and E. 51st St., cops said. The cabbie flagged down police.

When Singleton tried to fight the cops, they restrained him with a protective full-body wrap. An ambulance took him to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital. He died after going into cardiac arrest, officials said.

Lynch noted PCP can create a highly agitated state in users and abnormally boost their strength.

The NYPD says it’s cooperating with a probe by the Manhattan District Attorney.

“He didn’t really need to die,” his heartbroken widow, Lyn Warren Singleton, 44, told the Daily News. “It’s hard to be with someone nights and years and then they’re gone.”