Man dies after clash with SAPD; family claims excessive force

SAN ANTONIO — A 30-year-old San Antonio man is dead after resisting arrest Thursday morning and family members are blaming excessive police force.

San Antonio police said Pierre Abernathy, 30, was driving the wrong way on La Cantera near I-10 around 3 a.m. but refused to pull over.

Abernathy led police on a slow chase through the city’s north and northwest side that ended outside his home in the 10800 block of Deep Water Bay.

Police said officers were able to put one handcuff on the suspect before he violently resisted. Abernathy was finally subdued by four officers, a canine unit and a Taser.

Family members said Abernathy suffered from a mental illness and that officers went too far.

“I just don’t see why you need 10 or 12 cops on one guy and continually tasing him,” said Lee Giffin, Abernathy’s brother. “And from where I saw, I just heard blows. Hard blows. Just hard blows. And it’s not the first time it’s happened.”

Abernathy was also arrested in December and again in March on charges of resisting arrest.

San Antonio police Chief William McManus confirmed Abernathy died following the struggle.

Emergency medical crews performed CPR on the suspect before he was rushed to University Hospital. It is unknown whether he died at the hospital or en route.

His family says Abernathy died because no one bothered to listen. “He wasn’t trying to be combative, he was running for his life,” says Lorezo Abernathy. “He was scared to death.”

Three officers were taken to Westover Hills Santa Rosa Hospital with minor hand injuries. They are expected to be OK.

As is routine in such cases, four officers have been placed on administrative duty pending an investigation.

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