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Indy Chief Defends Officers in Death of Suspect

INDIANAPOLIS --

If a robbery suspect who died shortly after his arrest hadn't fought back against officers, the outcome may have been different, Indianapolis Police Chief Paul Ciesielski said Tuesday.

The chief defended the actions of four officers who chased and arrested Roy McDowell, 43, Sunday in connection with a holdup at Judge's BBQ in the 2100 block of West Michigan Street.

Once he was subdued, McDowell asked officers for help and was transported to Wishard Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

"He was a large man. He fought very hard. Not so much physically fighting the officers, but not complying, not giving his arms up again behind his back to be handcuffed. He was Tased," Ciesielski said. "If he would've complied, the outcome would've been different."

An autopsy performed Tuesday was inconclusive as to what caused McDowell's death, the Marion County Coroner's Office said. The coroner said toxicology results and a microscopic examination may provide more answers.

Neighbors who witnessed the arrest told 6News' Joanna Massee on Monday they believe police used excessive force.

"The man was saying, 'I can't breathe. I can't breathe.' Then, next thing you know, they was trying to pull him off the ground, and he was not responding," Tam Mitchell said. "He (an officer) took his knee and put it in the guy's neck."

But Ciesieslki said he believes the officers involved acted appropriately.

"I've heard some of the investigators tell me about some of the inconsistencies, but that's not uncommon," Ciesielski said. "People see different things when situations like that happen."

The four officers involved in McDowell's arrest have been placed on paid administrative leave as a manner of procedure, Ciesielski said.

A second man seen running from the restaurant had not been located Tuesday.

Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.

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