“I can’t breathe”: Video shows struggle, mans death in Canton Police custody

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The Canton Police Department released body camera footage Wednesday depicting the death of 53-year-old East Canton resident Frank E. Tyson while in police custody, including his final words of “I can’t breathe.”

The video, just over 30 minutes long, shows officers arriving at the scene, confronting Tyson, and attempting to take him into custody. It also captures over five minutes where Tyson lay motionless on the floor before officers checked for a pulse.

In the footage, an officer can be seen placing his knee on Tyson’s upper body for approximately 30 seconds while Tyson continued to yell out “I can’t breathe”. More than five minutes passed before officers checked Tyson for signs of life. That’s when officers called for medics and began performing CPR on the motionless Tyson.

The incident occurred on Thursday, April 18 when two officers responded to an AMVETS Post on Sherrick Road Southeast in Canton Township. Police reported that Tyson fled there after crashing his car near the eastern limits of Canton. The video depicts officers struggling to arrest Tyson before one of them restrains him by placing a knee on his back. Throughout the encounter, Tyson is heard repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe.”

Officers initially responded to the scene for reports of a power pole in the roadway that had been sheared in the wreck and located the vehicle nearby before being directed to the AMVETS, where Tyson was found.

The officers involved were identified as Beau Schoenegge and Camden Burch of the traffic bureau. Both officers were placed on paid administrative leave, in accordance with department policy.

In their initial statement, police said Tyson struggled with the officers before they managed to secure him, and that the officers noticed he was unresponsive “shortly after securing him in handcuffs.” After performing CPR and administering multiple doses of Narcan, Tyson was later pronounced dead at an area hospital.

“Today we have released the bodycam footage of the arrest incident involving the death of Mr. Frank E. Tyson,” Canton Mayor William V. Sherer II said. “I sat down with members of the Tyson family to not only allow them to see what is now being released to the public, but to give them my condolences in person.”

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is conducting an inquiry into the case.