Attorney General James’ Office of Special Investigation Releases Report on Death of Osiris Mercado

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James’ Office of Special Investigation (OSI) today released its report on the death of Osiris Mercado, who died on September 23, 2021 after an encounter with members of the Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD). Following a thorough investigation that involved interviews with involved police officers and other witnesses, civilian cell phone video, and comprehensive legal analysis, OSI concluded that the evidence does not indicate that the officers committed a crime and therefore charges could not be pursued in this matter. 

On the evening of September 23, 2021, SCPD officers responded to a 911 call reporting a man bleeding heavily outside a house on Superior Street in Port Jefferson Station, Suffolk County. When the first officer arrived at the scene, she found Mr. Mercado on the ground bleeding from his head. She attempted to engage Mr. Mercado, but he did not seem to hear her, and instead jumped up and ran in the street while screaming incoherently. The officer called for backup, and as additional officers arrived, they managed to guide Mr. Mercado off of the street and back to the grass, where they attempted to restrain Mr. Mercado so that the paramedics could assess his condition and render aid. 

After the officers brought Mr. Mercado to the ground, they struggled to handcuff him because he was flailing his arms. After he was fully handcuffed, Mr. Mercado became unresponsive and the officers described him as being “lifeless.” Paramedics administered Narcan and placed Mr. Mercado in the ambulance. During the ride to the hospital, Mr. Mercado went into cardiac arrest. Mr. Mercado was declared dead at the hospital.

Under federal and New York state law, police officers have the authority to detain a person who is an immediate danger to themselves or others, or when a person’s behavior demonstrates a need for urgent action. In this case, officers had a reasonable basis to restrain Mr. Mercado because he was behaving irrationally, appeared to be experiencing a medical emergency, and was a danger to himself and others. Under these circumstances, based on the law and the evidence, a prosecutor would not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officers caused Mr. Mercado’s death or committed a crime, and OSI determined that criminal charges could not be pursued in this matter.