David Cody Lynch, 31, died of asphyxia due to physical restraint, according to the Oklahoma Medical Examiner, which ruled the death a homicide.
Lynch died April 3 after a Warner police officer stopped him for a traffic violation. He attacked the officer, according to law enforcement sources, even removing the officer's gun belt during the skirmish.
The autopsy noted scratches and bruises associated with the scuffle and noted that Lynch was handcuffed and leg-cuffed when he died, apparently while police were laying on top of him to restrain him.
Lynch was under "acute intoxication by methamphetamine" at the time of his death, as well as legally intoxicated on alcohol. He suffered abrasions, contusions, lacerations and hemorrhages in the head and neck, abrasions and contusions on the abdomen and legs and forearms. At the time of his death, he was suffering from hypertensive cardiovascular disease and had been shocked by a Taser device.
His blood-alcohol level was 0.12, almost twice the legal limit for driving. His blood also tested positive for 2.5 mug/mL of methamphetamine and 0.65 of amphetamine. Law enforcement sources say Lynch was still grabbing for the officer's gun after he was handcuffed.
In classifying the death as a homicide, the examiner was careful to mention that the actions of the police may have been justified.
The cause of death is asphyxia due to physical restraint. The combination of the decedent being in a prone position with police officers kneeling on top of him in an attempt to restrain him most likely cause a hypoxic event. Other significant conditions are acute methamphetamine intoxication, hypertensive cardiovascular disease and electric shock weapon discharge.
The manner of death is classified as homicide. According to the National Association of Medical Examiners Guidelines, "Deaths due to positional restraint induced by law enforcement personnel or to choke holds or other measures to subdue may be classified as Homicide. In such cases, there may not be intent to kill, but the death results from one or more intentional, volitional, potentially harmful acts directed at the decedent..."
You can read the autopsy here. (4mb PDF file) Warning: Graphic content.
District Attorney Orvil Loge says he is looking into the death still and hasn't made a decision on whether any prosecution is warranted.
"There's going to be additional investigation," he said. "I will make a decision in the next 30 days."