Alonzo Smith's in-custody death ruled a homicide

A month and a half after a D.C. man died in the custody of two special police officers, the Medical Examiner has ruled his death a homicide.

The exact cause of 27-year-old Alonzo Smith's death was "sudden cardiac death complicating acute cocaine toxicity while restrained" with a contributing factor of "compression of torso."

We have known for some time that the two special police officers who handcuffed Smith that morning have had their police powers revoked, but the rest of the story is still shrouded in mystery.

There has so far been no official accounting of what happened to Smith the morning of Nov. 1 on the second-floor landing of the Marbury Plaza Apartments in Southeast D.C. The Medical Examiner's report tells part of the story, but there is still so much more unknown.

"I'm no longer stating that my son was beaten to death. My son was tortured to death. There are more injuries in the coroner's report than I could visibly see with my eyes. There were injuries on my son's back. He was hemorrhaging -- the back. The back of his head was busted," said mother Beverly Smith.

This suggests to Beverly Smith that her son may have been dragged at some point.

The only eyewitness to come forward saw or heard Smith running through the Marbury Plaza parking lot screaming for help and yelling, "They're trying to kill me."

The autopsy report released to the family lists a number of injuries to Smith's body, and for the first time, we are learning that he was under the influence of drugs -- cocaine and marijuana.

"I didn't know for him to be a drug user at all. I saw Alonzo on a regular basis. Alonzo was living with me and he showed no signs of drug use. So, that right there was really a shock to me," said Beverly Smith.

She said she has no idea why her son was at Marbury Plaza that morning and is desperate to know what the police have turned up in their investigation.

"It's all still a mystery, and they're making sure that it's a mystery, for right now," said Beverly Smith.

The initial police report referred to what happened as a "justifiable homicide," but the designation was reversed by police when reporters began questioning it and they later reclassified it as a "death investigation."

D.C. police said officers responded to the apartment complex after receiving three 911 calls for unknown trouble and an assault in progress.

The names of the two special police officers who handcuffed Smith have still not been released. They worked for Walforf-based Blackout Security.

Beverly Smith said she has been told by D.C. police that a grand jury is investigating the case. Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, said prosecutors and police are investigating.

Mayor Muriel Bowser's office is asking anyone with information about the death of Alonzo Smith to contact D.C. police by calling 202-727-9099 or texting 50411; or contact the U.S. Attorney's Office at 202-252-7130.

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