BY JIM DOOLEY – The City Medical Examiner’s Office today released the results of an autopsy of Aaron
Torres, the “Hawaii Five-0” crew member who died February 20 while being restrained by police at his Nanakuli home.
“In my opinion, this 37-year-old man died as a result of asphyxiation during restraint by police officers when they were laying on the decedent while he was in a prone position and struggling during cocaine induced excited delirium,” Dr. Kanthi De Alwis wrote.
De Alwis, a forensic pathologist, found numerous abrasions and contusions on Torres’ head, face, arms and legs but no injuries to the neck or throat.
In a “brief history” of the case, De Alwis wrote that Torres “was placed in a prone position on a dirt driveway while he was kicking and trying to get up when officers restrained him by laying on him trying to handcuff him.
“It was estimated that in about two to three minutes he became unresponsive,” De Alwis wrote.
Michael Green, an attorney representing Torres’ estate, said that account does not square with what family members said they witnessed.
“It sounds like it was based just on the police version of events,” said Green.
Torres’ wife and brother said the confrontation between Torres and three police officers lasted anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, according to Green.
One officer was on the back of Torres’s legs, while another held his arms and a third had an arm around Torres’ neck, according to Green.
De Alwis’ history of the incident said police did not use “vascular neck restraints, pepper spray or taser” against the unarmed Torres.
De Alwis reported finding three right rib fractures and a fracture of the sternum in the middle of the chest, which may have occurred during cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
She also found a chest contusion “consistent with” CPR as well as a wrist contusion “consistent with an impression of the handcuffs.”
Torres was 5’4″ tall and weighed 178 pounds, according to the report.
There was cocaine in his bloodstream and Torres had a “history of chronic cocaine abuse,” De Alwis said.
Police have declined to comment on the status of an internal affairs investigation into how Torres died and were unavailable for comment late this afternoon on the contents of the autopsy report.
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