Bronx man’s death after scuffle with NYPD under investigation

Posted at 5:45 PM, Jun 20, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-20 19:35:17-04

A Bronx man who was allegedly dealing drugs died after scuffling with police Wednesday, prompting an investigation into what happened outside a bodega in Woodlawn.

Police say two plainclothes narcotics division officers were on patrol when they saw Jose Muniz, 53, making a hand-to-hand drug deal near 233rd St.  just around 10 p.m. According to investigators, when the officers attempted to question Muniz, he fled.

Muniz was caught in Jerome Convenience store on 35-98 Jerome Ave., where he allegedly put the narcotics — described as “golf-ball-sized” — into his mouth and resisted arrest. The officers wrestled Muniz — who was unarmed — to the ground and used pepper spray on him in an attempt to subdue him.

Eyewitnesses say the cops ordered Muniz to let go of what was in his mouth, but he refused. The suspect then began choking and lost consciousness.

An officer called 9-1-1 and attempted to revive him with CPR. In the ambulance, Muniz apparently choked on the baggie of alleged crack-cocaine.

Muniz was pronounced dead on arrival at Bronx North Central Hospital.

The suspect had a lengthy criminal record including drug charges, robbery, and weapon possession, police said.

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