- Associated Press - Friday, June 2, 2017

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (AP) - The decade-old death of a man after a struggle with police has been ruled a homicide by a coroner who overturned an older determination that drugs might have played a role.

Brett Katzenmoyer, 20, died by homicide, Chester County Coroner Gordon Eck said, but he stressed that he does not determine criminality.

Katzenmoyer died in 2007, five days after being arrested outside a concert at what is now the BB&T; Pavilion in Camden, New Jersey, Philly.com reports (https://bit.ly/2qOL1ug). He was taken to a hospital after a struggle with police.

A hospital security guard testified that a former Camden police officer repeatedly punched the hand-cuffed Katzenmoyer in the face to keep him quiet. Police said that Katzenmoyer tried to reach for the officer’s holstered gun, but the security guard testified that he never reached for it.

An internal affairs investigator for Camden police, a department since disbanded and replaced by a county-run police force, alleged that the security guard exaggerated the situation to portray himself as a hero. He said Katzenmoyer’s injuries did not reflect a severe beating.

Katzenmoyer died at a hospital near his home in Phoenixville, days after being discharged in New Jersey.

His family wants prosecutors to consider charges against the officer and his partner, but the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office said Thursday that it was too soon to make a decision.

Neither former officer could be reached for comment.

Eck reviewed the case at the request of Katzenmoyer’s family. A previous coroner also initially labeled the death a homicide, but ultimately decided that the cause could not be determined.

The former coroner, Robert Satriale, has previously said he believed it possible that Katzenmoyer had taken drugs after being released from the hospital, which might have caused his death. He said his first report, indicating homicide, was released in error.

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