Redwood City man dies while in custody 

An autopsy today may reveal precisely what killed a 29-year-old Redwood City man after he was handcuffed by sheriff’s deputies at a New Year’s Eve party early Tuesday morning.

Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to the 100 block of Mountain View Avenue, in unincorporated Santa Clara County near San Jose, at approximately 2:30 a.m. New Year’s Day.

When officers arrived, they found several people in the yard holding down the Redwood City man. The partygoers believed the man was too intoxicated to drive home, Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Don Morrissey said.

"They were trying to stop him from driving home, because they worried he might get into an accident," Morrissey said. The party was attended by people believed to be family and friends of the man. Morrissey did not know how many attended the party, or how many were still at the house at the time of the incident.

Because the man was uncooperative, officers handcuffed him while they interviewed witnesses.

"We always handcuff them, for our safety as well as theirs," Morrissey said.

During the interviews with witnesses, police realized he had stopped breathing. Paramedics were called to the scene and were unable to revive the man. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital, Morrissey said. His name has not yet been released, according to a representative in the Santa Clara County Coroner’s Office.

Medical examiners expect to perform an autopsy today, and the results of that study — along with toxicology reports — are expected to reveal exactly what killed the 5-foot-6-inch, 250-pound man.

Sheriff’s department officers have interviewed several witnesses and also interviewed the officers who responded to the scene. The officers at the scene have not been placed on leave, Morrissey said.

"Right now, we believe there was no wrongdoing," Morrissey said. "We need to focus on the incident they — and anyone who was there — was exposed to. It was pretty traumatic."

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office Investigative Services Division at (408) 808-4500 or the anonymous crime tip line at (408) 808-4431.

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