To the editor:
I must enhance the information in your “Around the Nation” feature (Oct. 15) concerning the Aug. 23 death of a professional wrestler, Neil Caricofe, while he was being arrested by Ocean City police.
The Maryland Medical Examiner’s final autopsy report determined Caricofe died as a result of heart disease and the ingestion of a combination of drugs and alcohol. An investigation by the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation, an agency independent of the Ocean City Police Department, and the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office determined no crime was committed by any member of the OCPD.
State’s Attorney Joel Todd, in an Oct. 8 news conference presenting the results of the investigation, said: “All evidence indicates the officers and command staff involved acted professionally and in accordance with their training during and following the incident.”
The witness whose comments are presented in the Oct. 15 piece was alone in her view of the incident; other witnesses said the police officers acted appropriately. This person refused to identify herself to any of the reporters covering the story other than to say she was from Washington, D.C., and she would not talk to any law enforcement investigators about what she said she saw. If she was in the hotel, as she claims, she either lied to investigators during their door-to-door canvass or failed to acknowledge their knocks on her door.
Her statements about CPR and a “dog collar” also require rebuttal. CPR was started as soon as it was determined Caricofe was in cardiac arrest. When he first was taken to the ground, officers checked and believed he was breathing. After EMS personnel arrived, they found he had gone into arrest and CPR was begun immediately. An OCPD sergeant performed chest compressions.
The “dog collar” is a Violent Prisoner Restraint Device (VPRD) used to try to prevent combative arrestees from injuring themselves and others. It is placed around the lower legs, generally the ankle area. It never is put around the head or neck. A VPRD was used after Caricofe was on the ground.