Pathologist: Armando Frank died from 'asphyxia' during arrest struggle
The family of Armando Frank, 42, who died back in October 2017 during a struggle with law enforcement, has filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal district court in Alexandria and are seeking damages. Three officers involved with the struggle are listed as defendants, as are the City of Marksville and Sheriff Doug Anderson in his official capacity.
The lawsuit was filed last Friday by attorney Joseph Long out of Baton Rouge. The lawsuit alleges civil rights violations by excessive force.
Attached with the lawsuit is a report from Dr. Christopher Tape, a well-known forensic pathologist in the state.
Dr. Tape concludes in his report that Frank's cause of death was "asphyxia due to respiratory compromise due to law enforcement arrest with contribution of hypertensive atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease." The manner of death is listed as "homicide." Within the report, Dr. Tape writes that review of police body cam video shows that Frank's breathing was compromised for more than six minutes.Toxicology results only turned up positive for caffeine.
Dr. Tape concludes his report by writing, "Although there is no evidence of intent to kill the decedent on the video, it seems that the law enforcement arrest was the intervening factor that led to the death. Therefore, for medicolegal purposes such as a death certificate, the manner of death should be classified as a homicide."
The incident happened as Avoyelles Parish deputies spotted Frank sitting on a tractor in the parking lot of Walmart. Investigators told us at the time that Frank was wanted on several warrants.
We're told when deputies went to arrest Frank, he resisted and was tasered as a result. He continued to resist, and was tasered again before deputies brought him to the ground. He later died at the hospital.
In March, an Avoyelles Parish grand jury chose not to indict three law enforcement officers involved in the incident for negligent homicide. Those officers are Deputy Alex Daniel and Deputy Brandon Spillman with the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office, and Kenneth Parnell with the Marksville Police Department. It took the grand jury four hours to reach that decision.