Family Speaks Out After Man Dies Following an Arrest

September 13, 2013

The Virginia State Police are investigating the death of a man who died after being arrested by Orange Co. deputies.

The Orange County Sheriff's office says that a deputy was attempting a routine traffic stop in Orange Co. on Thursday night, around 5 pm, when 34-year-old Gerard Cowherd sped off through the town of Gordonsville.

Officers explained that during the chase they saw cowherd throw items from his SUV, but they were eventually able to stop him at this intersection of E. Baker St. and Linney St.

The press released sent out by the Sheriff's office explained that Cowherd resisted arrest before being put into the back a police car, but before he was arrested they believe he swallowed illegal drugs.

According to the release, nearly 20 minutes went by before Cowherd told the arresting officers that he had swallowed drugs, an ambulance was immediately called and he was rushed to Martha Jefferson Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

Now his family and friends believe that he did not receive the proper treatment in time and want something to be done.

“When I got down here my nephew was laying on the grass he was having a seizure they wouldn't let us near him, it took 45 minutes for the rescue squad to get here to pick him up,” says Betty Nixon-Starkes, one of Cowerd’s aunts.

His family believes that he was not treated fairly

“What he did was wrong, but they treated him like he was some kind of animal, you would treat an animal better than that,” says Nixon-Starkes.

His family witnessed his arrest and believe officers used excessive force when arresting him.

“You would think a terrorist hit Gordonsville, there were so many unmarked police cars and investigators everywhere,” says Regina Nixon, aunt of Cowherd. “We had to pull over and let him go and I don't think it was right.”

“That's what really got us together her something has to be done,” says Nixon.

An autopsy was performed Friday to see what kind of drug cowherd swallowed, but as of right now there have been no results and the Virginia State Police have taken over the investigation.

“I feel so terrible, he was a great nephew I really love Gerard, he did anything in the world for me, anything for anybody,” says Rosa Lee Nixon, aunt of Cowherd. “I'm sure going to miss him.”

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