Man dies in Hamlin police custody, Texas Rangers investigating
HAMLIN, Texas - Texas Rangers are investigating the death of a 49-year-old man who collapsed and later died over the weekend while in custody of Hamlin police. Hamlin police say he had become violent with officers and EMS personnel. Johnny McNeil identified the victim as his brother, Delbert McNeil. He said his brother was a Mental Health Mental Retardation patient who should have been handled differently. He believes excessive force was used -- including tasing -- leading to his brother's death. Hamlin Police Department responded about 1:10 a.m. Saturday to reports of a "male suspect, possibly under the influence, throwing items in front of a local business." According to a Hamlin police news release, the man became "combative and violent and assaulted the officers" when he was located and taken into custody. "Additional officers were requested along with Emergency Medical Services," the release said. "The male suspect was agitated and began to fight with the EMS personnel." Johnny McNeil said he understood Delbert was tased and assaulted by officers. "I think they (police) should have contacted MHMR first to let them know he was having an episode," Johnny McNeil said, adding he was "disappointed" with how it was handled. Hamlin police said Delbert McNeil collapsed and was taken to the Hamlin Memorial Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. Johnny McNeil said Hamlin Police Chief Bobby Evans told him that his brother had a heart attack on the way to the hospital. Debra Adkisson, a neighbor, said Delbert McNeil was tased at least twice. "He was in the backseat, cuffed. What else could he do?," Adkisson said. "Kind of bewildered because he was a friend. To see this happen right in front of my house and then the next morning to find out that he's passed." The Hamlin Police Department referred "future inquiries" about the death to the Texas Rangers. Delbert McNeil's body has been taken to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy. Johnny McNeil said he is also disappointed the family wasn't allowed to see the body first. "We're going to find out the truth," McNeil said.