Dec 12, 2009, Panama City Beach- The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the death of a local man who died while Bay County Sheriff's deputies were trying to arrest him. The death of 23-year-old Andrew Grande is devastating for his friends and family. But it was also traumatic for the deputies and the camera crew riding along with them as the responded to a disturbance call early Friday morning.
Just after 2AM Friday deputies responded to a disturbance call at the Executive Inn on front beach road. They say Grande pushed a female friend. A camera crew from Zoo Productions filmed what happened when deputies arrived. When one of the deputies tried to arrest him they say he resisted and stuffed something in his mouth. That's when at least one of the deputies shot him with a taser. They say he pulled the taser probes out of his body, that's when deputies noticed he was choking.
Deputies performed the Hiemlich maneuver but could not dislodge the item. By the time EMS arrived, he was unconscious. One of the paramedics pulled a large bag of marijuana from his throat. He was pronounced dead at Bay Medical Center. "It's a tragic situation for our officers, a tragic situation for this young man and his family. What started out to be a simple disturbance call, could have been handled by compliance by this individual, simply giving the officers the marijuana," explained Sheriff Frank McKeithen.
Had he done that Grande would have most likely faced misdemeanor charges. "Instead he pretty much ended up taking his own life by ingesting this item that was stuck in his throat. He therefore, in front of these deputies, dies and there is nothing they can do. It's a horrible situation for them, a horrible situation for us and a horrible situation for his family," said McKeithen All three of the deputies who responded are now on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
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