KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — Kingsport police have released new details about a confrontation between an officer and a 75-year-old man, who died following the incident.
It happened on the morning of Aug. 8 in the parking lot of the Kroger grocery store on East Stone Drive, where a police officer responded to a reported disturbance.
The officer arrived and found Edris Marrero, 75, “behaving irrationally and aggressively,” Kingsport Police Department Public Information Officer Tom Patton said on Tuesday. “He had blocked in another vehicle with his own, and he was actively accosting the woman inside, beating on her windows and shouting profanity at her.”
According to Patton, Marrero became combative and the officer punched him once in self-defense in what was described as “a minimal level of force.”
“Absolutely no escalated level of force was used afterward,” Patton said.
Marrero then became unresponsive, for reasons still under investigation. The officer rendered aid until paramedics arrived and took him to the hospital, according to the police department.
Patton said the officer “immediately provided basic recovery care” and noted that EMS was already at the Kroger store on other business when the incident happened, so their response was “almost immediate.”
After the incident, Kingsport police contacted the district attorney’s office to request an independent investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
Kingsport’s police chief says the department is also conducting an internal investigation, which is protocol whenever an officer uses force.
“Just as we do in all use of force incidents, this matter is being reviewed internally,” Chief of Police Dale Phipps said in a statement. “Based on our findings thus far, the officer’s actions appear to be completely justified, entirely appropriate under the circumstances, and in full compliance with our use of force policy.”
Patton confirmed Kingsport Police officers do not wear body cameras.