FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Two of five Fort Worth police officers have been reinstated after being fired for allegedly ignoring a handcuffed suspect's pleas for medical attention before he died and trying to cover up their decision not to get him help.
Sgt. Chris Daniels said Daniel Pritzker and Mitchel Miller will resume their patrol unit duties once they have completed an updated training, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Wednesday.
Daniels only provided a copy of the arbitrator's report for Pritzker, whose indefinite suspension was reduced to 10 days last month. He told the newspaper to file a records request under the Freedom of Information Act for other information, including Miller's settlement agreement with the city to instead accept a 15-day suspension and the amounts of back pay each officer received upon being reinstated. That records request has not been answered.
Pritzker and Miller were among the five officers who were fired after Christopher Lowe, 55, died while handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser in July 2018. The arbitrator has yet to rule on the appeals of the three other fired officers, Christopher Golden, Taylor Stephens and Hans Fellhauer.
The officers were responding to a report about a prowler when they arrested Lowe for allegedly trying to break into a house.
Lowe repeatedly told authorities that he was dying and couldn't breathe as he was handcuffed and put in the back of a patrol car. However, the officers disregarded his pleas for medical care and assumed he was lying in an attempt to avoid jail, according to documents provided by the police department.
At some point, the officers decided that Lowe did need medical help, an arbitrator's report shows. However, body camera footage caught Pritzker and Stephens discussing not telling the hospital that they suspected Lowe was high on drugs.
"Don't say anything about the dope," Pritzker told Golden. "He's just acting crazy."
Thirteen minutes after Lowe was put in the patrol car, Officer Andrew Scharf found him unresponsive and not breathing. Officers then called for an ambulance. Lowe was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital.
All of the fired officers had been on the police force for less than three years except for Smith, who had been with the department for a decade.
Two officers weren't fired but were suspended without pay — Scharf for five days and Officer Scott Smith for 90.