From the Aberdeen Police Department:
Aberdeen, MD – Video has just been released by the Aberdeen Police Department showing the in-custody fall of a man who later died.
Barry Lee Berkenkemper, 59, of no fixed address, was arrested by Ofc J. Neidig of the Aberdeen Police Department on April 2, 2015 at around 2:40 p.m. Berkenkemper was arrested for public intoxication and failure to obey a lawful order after officers were called about a man refusing to get out of a cab in the area of Ice House Liquors, 1014 Beards Hill Rd, Aberdeen.
(Story continues after video)
After his arrest Berkenkemper was transported to the booking area of the Aberdeen Police Department. Once there his handcuffs were removed and he was asked to walk to a holding cell. While being escorted to the cell Berkenkemper lost his balance and fell backwards, striking the back of his head on the floor.
Ofc. Neidig immediately assessed Berkenkemper and found that he was not bleeding and had no other outward signs of injury. An ambulance was called and paramedics with the Aberdeen Fire Department responded. Berkenkemper was conscious and spoke with officers until the ambulance’s arrival 5 minutes later.
Berkenkemper was taken to Harford Memorial Hospital. Shortly after, the Aberdeen Police Department was advised that Berkenkemper had a pre-existing medical condition that was re-aggravated by the fall and that he had been transferred to University of Maryland Shock Trauma. Berkenkemper died the following day at around 4:00 p.m.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy. Their preliminary investigation did reveal the presence of opioids/cocaine in Berkenkemper’s system, as well as evidence of a prior brain injury and prior falls. Their final ruling is pending toxicology & pathology reports.
The Aberdeen Police Department is conducting an Internal Investigation into the incident. Ofc. Neidig remains on active duty at this time.