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The D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has determined the Oct. 1 death of 74-year-old Medstar Washington Hospital patient James McBride to be a homicide, WUSA9 reports. McBride was found with a broken neck outside Medstar’s facilities in Northwest after 5 p.m. on Tuesday Sept. 29, when he was restrained by two private security guards—contracted by the hospital—who were subsequently placed on administrative leave, and then let go. The Metropolitan Police Department began an investigation of the incident involving the two “special police” officers, but did not immediately comment today.
OCME’s autopsy report lists “blunt force injuries of neck, with cervical spinal cord transection and vertebral artery compression” as McBride’s cause of death. The homicide-ruling follows another in-custody-death-ruled-homicide: that of Alonzo Smith, 27, whom special police at the Marbury Plaza Apartments in Southeast had handcuffed by the time MPD officers arrived on scene, in the early morning of Nov. 1. Mayor Muriel Bowser last month released footage of MPD’s response to that incident, exercising newly approved authority the mayor has to do so in cases of “significant public interest.” Special police officers operate privately but undergo MPD certification before working.