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.
8 thoughts on “US citizen dies after being taken in to protective custody in February/赤坂警察署の説明が正しい模様”
In Japan, you’re drunk and Japanese you’re said to be building bonds with your colleagues and friends, and likely a hard worker in need of some stress release. If you’re drunk and a foreigner you’re said to be “behaving erratically,” likely with a mental disorder. Very nice.
Please continue to follow this story. This young man was murdered in exactly the same way as Eric Garner.
The man who died appeared to actually have mental health issues. We’re trying to verify it. The conclusions may not be what we expect.
Oh please. It’s quite clear who’s drunk and who’s elevator doesn’t quite go all the way to the top – and, as noted, 5:30pm would be rather early in the day to have tied one on, and he wasn’t just ‘behaving erratically’ he had apparently attacked people.
I’m sure you can find racism every where you look if you just twist and turn enough.
There are many indications the individual was mentally ill and for those reasons I’m not sure it’s appropriate to dig any deeper. I don’t think the police mishandled the situation.
Yeah, I don’t think anyone is thinking ‘”Eric Garner in Japan”. The Japanese police don’t have a reputation of overreacting or coming from a country with a history of enslavement and prejudice against African-Americans. Japan’s reputation is that of a more polite society.
There are many people who do believe that. At least enough to go and protest.
The local “gaijin-watch committees” in Japan target cocky foreigners and go to extraordinary lengths staging incidents that would lead to the subjects being arrested.
The committees are usually made up of police officers, martial arts teachers, Shinto priests and right-wing ultra nationalists, both male and female, who play the role of “victims.”
As for the publicized cases in which the foreigners were arrested on trumped-up charges, see
Trial Begins For Dutch Cove Guardian Erwin Vermeulen in Taiji, Japan (he was falsely accused of pushing one of the dolphin resort employees, and spent 64 days in police custody “under very poor conditions.”)
Dad jailed in Japan: ‘I’m dead to my children’
There are certainly cases of police overstepping their authority and conducting shoddy investigations. This isn’t one of them.