The attorneys representing the parents of Marcus Deon Smith in their lawsuit against the City of Greensboro, Guilford County, eight Greensboro police officers and two Guilford County paramedics on Friday, July 26 filed responses to the motions for the lawsuit to be dismissed from both Greensboro and Guilford County.
Marcus Smith died on Sept. 8, 2018 after being in the custody of the Greensboro Police Department. He was transported to Cone Hospital by Guilford County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and was pronounced dead at the hospital after efforts to resuscitate him failed.
The official cause of death according to the state medical examiner was, “Sudden cardiopulmonary arrest due to: prone restraint; n-ethylpentalone, cocaine and alcohol use; and hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.” The manner of death was classified as homicide.
The medical examiner notes that n-ethylpentalone is “a drug commonly sold purported to be MDMA/ecstasy.”
The wrongful death lawsuit claims that the defendants violated Marcus Smith’s rights protected by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments..
The response to the request for dismissal from Guilford County, makes a claim that is not found in the original lawsuit.
The response states that the eight Greensboro police officers and the two Guilford County EMS paramedics were involved in a conspiracy against Marcus Smith which led to his death.
A footnote in the response states, “Rather, plaintiffs allege that the Paramedic Defendants acted jointly and in conspiracy with the Officer Defendants to restrain and hogtie Marcus and that this conduct in addition to their failure to intervene to protect Marcus from being injured by the Police Department is part and parcel of the failure to provide prompt medical care claim, but not a separate claim unto itself.”
The original lawsuit makes claims that the EMS paramedics failed to intervene when the police were placing the restraint on Marcus Smith and that they did not start life saving measures soon enough after Marcus Smith was found unresponsive, but does not claim a conspiracy existed.
One part of the lawsuit that has been frequently noted at Greensboro City Council meetings is the Greensboro Police Directive for using the “Ripp Hobble” device to restrain someone under arrest. As quoted in the lawsuit the directive states, “At no time shall the wrists and ankles of an arrestee be linked together using the Ripp Hobble restraining device, unless the arrestee can be seated in an upright position or on their side.” Those speaking to City Council often note the first portion but leave off the part after “unless.” Including the second portion, the directive doesn’t say don’t use the Ripp Hobble, but don’t use it improperly.