Kearse Act

WCBS 880

Activists Rally For NY Bill Requiring Cops To Help People In Custody

December 16, 2018 - 4:47 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – The State Legislature will consider a bill next year that would require police officers to call for medical attention for people in police custody if they need it.

The legislation was prompted by the death of Andrew Kearse, a Bronx man who died in police custody Upstate.

Kearse was visiting a friend in Schenectady in May 2017 when he was pulled over before ditching his car and running from police.

When he was caught, he told officers he couldn’t breathe and collapsed in the back of a patrol car before dying at a hospital.

An Attorney General report says Kearse told officers he couldn’t breathe nearly 50 times while in custody. Police dash-cam video shows police doing nothing as Kearse begged for help.

Dozens of activists rallied in Harlem Saturday for the passage of the Andrew Kearse Act, introduced by State Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez.

The bill calls for police to make a call if someone in their custody needs medical attention.

“Lives have been lost,” Fernandez said at Saturday’s rally. “It makes me want to do what I can in the position that I have to make a change for anybody in the future that may encounter or end up in a situation like this one or the many that we’ve heard.”

Sanford Rubenstein is the attorney for the Kearse estate.

“The police officer did not get him medical attention, which very well could have saved his life,” Rubenstein said.