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Greensboro police release body camera videos for man who died in police custody

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. – Greensboro police have released the body camera videos of the incident where Marcus Dion Smith died in police custody.

An autopsy report for Smith, 38, was released on Friday. His death was classified as a homicide.

The official cause of death was sudden cardiopulmonary arrest due to prone restraint; use of N-Ethylpentylone, cocaine and alcohol; and high blood pressure and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services released the autopsy results. Click here to read the full report.

Hours after the report was released, the City of Greensboro announced it is in the process of filing a petition with the Guilford County Superior County requesting the release of the body-worn camera footage from that day. To view all the different body camera videos, click here.

Greensboro City Council reviewed the video in small groups tonight. The first time they can do it as a whole is at Tuesday night’s city council meeting, according to City Council Member At Large Michelle Kennedy.

"It is never easy to watch difficult things happen even under the best of circumstances and Marcus was someone I have known for years and saw on a regular basis as he was part of our community at the [Interactive Resource Center] and it was difficult and painful to watch," Kennedy said. "I hope that through this tragedy we can find better solutions as a city that’s certain to me one way to honor his memory and his legacy."

In September, Greensboro police said a disoriented and suicidal man ran in and out of traffic along Church Street. While officers were trying to take Smith for a mental evaluation, he became combative and collapsed, according to police.

According to Greensboro police, EMS and officers provided aid and brought Smith to a hospital where he later died.

The family's attorney tells a different story.

Earlier this month, the family’s attorney described what he saw happen on the body camera footage. He said police hogtied Smith and then stood around talking to each other before noticing he couldn’t breathe. He then said an officer said, "Untie him."

"I think that this is tragic for many many reasons and I think it is important that we act in a way that is transparent and act in a way that serves the best interest of the city and I believe that we will do that," Kennedy said.

The SBI is currently finalizing its report and plans to pass its findings along to the District Attorney’s office next week.

An investigator with the SBI said that the homicide classification doesn't necessarily mean there was any malicious intent. The word homicide has a different definition to law enforcement than it does to the Medical Examiner's Office.

A DHHS spokesperson said the Medical Examiner's Office's definition means the death happened at the hands of another person.

On Monday, Smith’s family will hold a meeting at Shiloh Baptist Church demanding the city council holds the four officers involved accountable.

Greensboro police did its own internal investigation and determined there was no violation of policy.

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