A Chicago man has vowed to hold law enforcement officials accountable in the death of his son who, the man said, was crying out for help and instead was given a death sentence.
Philip Coleman died in police custody on Dec. 13 after being tasered twice by police a day after he was arrested near his parents’ home on the Far South Side of Chicago.
Police, neighbors and the man’s father said Coleman had been behaving erratically in the moments leading up to his arrest, after police responded to a domestic violence call and learned that Coleman reportedly had beaten his mother.
“My son had a mental breakdown and it was obvious to any layman,” Percy Coleman told BlackAmericaWeb.com.
The elder Coleman said he was coming home from work on Wednesday, Dec. 12, when he saw his street blocked off by a police car and an ambulance. He turned down a side street and came up the alley behind his house when he saw Philip in the alley.
Coleman said he got out of his car and that “Philip kissed me. He kissed me again and then he said ‘Who are you? You’re not my father.’ Then he hauled off and hit me and knocked my glasses off.”
Coleman, a former parole officer who said he still holds a concealed weapons permit, said he unzipped his coat and when his son saw his father’s gun, Philip fell to his knees and said, “Anyone that hits their mother is sick. Shoot me. Shoot me.”
Coleman said he got in his car and drove up to the ambulance driver and asked for help getting his son to the hospital. He said the driver told him he would have to call another ambulance because he was there to take a woman to the hospital. Coleman found out from a neighbor the woman was his wife.
Meanwhile, he said, Philip was talking nonsensically, at times lying on the ground kicking and screaming and ignoring police orders to kneel down and put his hands up.
An officer pulled his gun and “I got in front of my son and said ‘You are not going to shoot him,’” Coleman said. “I told him, ‘How are you going to give him orders when he don’t understand?’”
He said he calmed his son down, but then an officer shouted at his son, agitating him. Coleman said he rushed his son and took him down and got a neighbor to sit on Philip so they could hold him down until police handcuffed him.
While on the ground, Coleman said, Philip spat out blood and a female officer accused him of spitting at her.
Once his son was in police custody, Coleman said, he was not allowed to visit Philip in the lockup and police refused his request to transfer his son to a hospital for observation.