EPD: No evidence officers used deadly force in incident surrounding man who died in custody



EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – The Evansville Police Department says there’s no evidence its officer used deadly force during an incident in which a man died in police custody.

“The use of force you use has to be equivalent to the amount of resistance you’re trying to overcome.”

It happened around 7:40 Friday evening in the 4300 block of Division Street.

Police responded to complaints of a man at a business in the area. They say when they got there the man was uncooperative and began fighting with police.

An officer tased the man twice, but he was still able to run away.

“We don’t really deal in normal, anything is possible. We’ve seen people do all kinds of things you wouldn’t expect them to be able to do. That’s something our officers train for.”

Police caught up with hm a short time later, and the man died.

He has been identified as Edward Snukis, of St Clair, Pennsylvania.

A cause of death has not been determined.

Police admit an officer used a closed fist to hit the man, but they say the police response would not be considered deadly.

“This is being handled as an individual that died while in our custody, not that was subjected to a level of deadly force from any of our officers while trying to take him into custody.”

Police believe Snukis was under the influence of something.

“We believe he may have been under the influence of something. His behavior was being done in such a manner that it prompted multiple 911 calls.”

Snukis died at the hospital.

The two officers involved, Matthew Taylor and Trevor Koontz, were put on three-day administrative leave, which is protocol in these types of events.

Cullum says the officers are expected back at work for their next shift.

Police say Snukis is from Pennsylvania and they don’t believe he was in Evansville for very long. But they aren’t sure why he was here.

We will continue to update information once it becomes available.


EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – The Evansville Police Department is expected to give more details on the death of a man over the weekend while in police custody.

Police identified the man as 55-year-old Edward Snukis of Saint Claire, Pennsylvania.

The news conference is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Police said a man died during a physical fight with officers on Friday night.

A news release said officers were called to the 4300 block of Division St. at 7:45 p.m. for a report of an intoxicated man who was in a restricted area.

The release said officers attempted to detain the man, but he refused to cooperate.

Police said the man punched one officer in the nose, knocking him to the ground. A second tased the man.

Officers said the taser had a temporary effect but the man was able to overcome the effects and began running from police.

Police said the man tripped and fell while running and officers were able to catch up to him.

During a second altercation, he continued to resist.

He was eventually handcuffed.

Police said officers turned the man onto his side and saw he was not responsive, but he was breathing and had a pulse. A third officer, who was previously an EMT, began monitoring the man.

The news release states that prior to an ambulance arriving, the man stopped breathing.

EPD said the man was taken to a local hospital for treatment, but died shortly after arriving.

In accordance with EPD policy, the officers were placed on a three-day administrative leave.

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(This story was originally published on Sept. 16, 2019)

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