Wednesday, November 29, 2000

Dead man reportedly had drugs

Police log lists illegal substances

By Kristina Goetz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        New information about the death of a man in police custody shows the quantity of drugs police found when he died.

        Police property logs for Roger Owensby Jr. were released Tuesday. One entry indicated items totaling 48.7 grams, including a baggie containing marijuana, two small baggies of crack cocaine, an empty baggie and a cigar.

        The contents of an artificial sweetener packet equals about one gram.

        Sgt. Anthony Carter of the homicide unit said the amount of drugs and specific type would have to be confirmed in the lab report.

        Previous results from Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Carl Parrott Jr. indicated Mr. Owensby had traces of marijuana in his system. He did not, as the coroner said was rumored, ingest cocaine at the scene.

        Other information in the log indicates that the uniform shirts of three officers — Robert Jorg, Patrick Caton and Darren Sellers — went to the lab as well as two other police shirt sleeves, a white sports jersey and tank top and a black “phat farm” T-shirt.

        Mr. Owensby, a 29-year-old father and Army veteran, died Nov. 7 after police arrested him in the parking lot of a Sunoco station in Roselawn.

        Dr. Parrott said Mr. Owensby was asphyxiated, possibly because of a choke hold that went bad or because officers piled on top of him. A grand jury is expected to start hearing testimony as soon as today.

        Mr. Owensby's was the first of two deaths of African-American suspects in two days, prompting some in the black community to allege racial profiling and call for a boycott of downtown businesses during the Christmas shopping season.


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