Autopsy: Man died of drug overdose after struggle with Fla. sheriff deputies at airport
Bodycam video shows deputies stopping the man as he attempted to breach a security checkpoint
By David Lyons
FORT LAUDERDALE — The Broward County Medical examiner has ruled the airport death of Kevon Todd, who died after a struggle with sheriff’s deputies, was an accident and that he succumbed to a drug overdose.
In a statement released late Friday, Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony said he was turning the case over to the state attorney’s office for an investigation.
“The county medical examiner has found that the cause of Kevon Todd’s death was a drug overdose, and found that the deputies who took Kevon Todd into custody did not contribute to his death,” Tony said in his statement.
“Security at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport is taken very seriously by deputies, given the tragic shooting that occurred there in 2017,” he said. “That is why under my administration deputies have received additional training in responding to active shooter and other crisis situations, and based on the evidence I have, I believe the deputies, in this case, acted responsibly.”
Reached at her office late Friday, Miami attorney Robyn Blake, who represents the family, said she was reviewing the materials released by Tony’s office and had no immediate comment.
Besides referring the case for review by the office of Broward State Attorney Michael Satz, Tony said he “tasked our Department of Fire Rescue to conduct a thorough administrative review of their response to this incident to ensure we did everything possible to save Mr. Todd’s life.
“My heart breaks for the family of Kevon Todd, and I hope the details released today give them a better understanding of what happened to their loved one,” Tony said in the statement.
The conclusions came one day after family members and Blake demanded an explanation for the April 9 death. In an online news conference on Thursday, family members accused the agency of concealing information about his death. They urged witnesses to come forward with videotape or answers and called on Sheriff Tony to reveal details.
“The family is entitled to answers and also is entitled to justice,‘' Blake said Thursday.
Todd, 29, had appeared on the upper level of the JetBlue terminal at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and refused to requests to leave.
Video from cameras worn by deputies and released Friday by the sheriff’s office show Todd leaving the terminal after being asked to do so by an officer, but he then re-entered the building and moved to an area near a security checkpoint where he toppled over several stanchions and was taken to the floor by deputies who had given chase.
The video shows it took a half dozen officers to bring him under control as he yelled and struggled to escape their grasp. One officer is shown placing a knee between Todd’s shoulder blades below his neck. Once handcuffed, Todd is shown being carried from the building by three deputies and placed on his side on a sidewalk, where he appeared to lose consciousness.
Initial police reports said that Todd, of Miramar, scuffled with deputies and later died at the hospital, the sheriff’s office said at the time.
Investigators said after the incident that Todd had yelled at JetBlue employees in Terminal 3 about 9:11 a.m. when deputies arrived.
Todd reportedly then ran toward the security checkpoint area but was subdued and taken into custody. When deputies took him to the front of the terminal, Todd became unresponsive, investigators said.
Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue was summoned and paramedics began life-saving measures. They took Todd to Broward Health Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 11:25 a.m., officials said.
“The suspect had an unknown medical event,” said Sgt. Donald Prichard.
The two deputies involved in the scuffle were treated for minor injuries.