Compiled from Wire Services and other sources
On March 2nd, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Agency announced the death of an American national who allegedly went on a rampage in the street of Akasaka, was taken into protective custody and then was carried to a hospital, where he died. According to reports in the Japanese press, the Akasaka Police Station, said the autopsy on the dead body did not reveal the cause of his death. The man’s name has not publicly released.
The man who died was a 29-year-old American national working as an English teacher who lived in Setagaya ward in Tokyo. The Akasaka police station said it received 110 calls on February 11th, around 5:30 PM, with people saying that “a foreigner with mental disorder got into a fight in the streets of Akasaka, in Minato ward.”
When the police officers arrived on the scene and tried to speak with the man, he allegedly attacked them, and six police officers had to hold the man’s both feet and arms to restrain him and take him into custody. The man had a cardiopulmonary heart attack, fell unconscious and was carried to a hospital. The man did not wake up and died in the hospital on March 1st. The police said he did not have any noticeable external injuries.
For several years, there has been a small epidemic of foreigners in the nearby Roppongi area having their drinks spiked with narcotics and then robbed or defrauded. The US Embassy has issued warnings. However, 5:30 pm while falling in the realm of Happy Hour is a little early in the day. There is speculation that the man’s reported erratic behavior and subsequent heart-failure could be due to an overdose of a narcotic substance, which may or may not have been detected in a simple autopsy. A more likely possibility is that he was in poor physical condition due to some mental health issues, including paranoia.
Enquiries made by Japan Subculture Research Center to the police and the US Embassy did not result in any further information being officially disclosed. If you have any information to suggest that there was foul play, or were an eyewitness, or know the name of the individual involved, please contact us. At present, there is nothing to indicate that the Akasaka Police Department was behaving like the Ferguson Police Department or that police protocol was violated.
There were photos taken of the police holding down the individual and eyewitnesses who verify that medical help was immediately summoned when the man’s heart stopped beating, shortly after being subdued. This would appear to back up police reports on the incident. While not completely confirmed, there is credible testimony that that the individual was suffering from some mental illness, was indeed acting violently, and had been displaying erratic behavior for days before the incident..While there is a temptation to see this as “Eric Garner in Japan” the answer may simply be a tragic end for a troubled young man.
Around 4pm on Sunday March 8th, a small group of people protested outside the Akasaka Police Station shouting that “all deaths matter.” The protest continued until the evening. The claims that the police “killed” the man haven’t been substantiated by eyewitness testimony. An ambulance was immediately called to the scene after the police subdued the individual, who had been reportedly acting erratically for several weeks.