Autopsy shows broken neck killed man involved in Ark. police altercation


The Associated Press

Russellville, AR- A prosecutor says a broken neck and  spinal-cord injury caused the death of a Russellville man who died after an altercation with police. Sixty-one-year-old Bobby Joe Rylee -- who was arrested July 15th by two Russellville officers -- also suffered fractured ribs. Police say Rylee became belligerent and hit the officers.

Prosecutor David Gibbons says he can't say yet if Rylee's injuries occurred during the arrest. Gibbons plans to talk with the medical examiner about the autopsy. He expects to get a complete report on Rylee's death within six weeks. Rylee died at University Hospital in Little Rock last Thursday -- five days after his arrest.

The police chief says the two officers involved are on administrative leave with pay. He declined to identify them.

Police say an officer stopped a vehicle after getting a call about a man with a knife who was acting strange. When the driver pulled over, he allegedly became agitated and started arguing with the officer. The officer told the man he was under arrest for disorderly conduct, and the man allegedly hit the officer in the chest. The two fought and a back-up officer arrived. Police say the suspect and the officers fell to the ground, and one of the officers was stabbed with a pen. The officers used pepper spray on the man and took him to the Pope County Jail.

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