A man died Tuesday in the booking area of the Pierce County Jail hours after officers said he appeared to have ingested a white substance while being arrested.
The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the man as 32-year-old Demetrius Dixon of Kent. Investigators had not yet determined the cause of his death.
“At this point we believe that he probably died of a self-inflicted drug overdose,” sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.
Lakewood police spokesman John Unfred gave this account of the arrest:
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Dixon was pulled over shortly after midnight near South 84th and Hosmer streets for a malfunctioning brake light, and officers found marijuana, cocaine, prescription drugs and $3,500 in cash in the vehicle.
An officer thought Dixon swallowed an unknown white substance while being arrested. He denied ingesting anything but police took him to St. Clare Hospital.
Hospital staff cleared him, and police took him to jail on suspicion of four counts of drug possession with intent to distribute, resisting arrest, obstructing police, drug paraphernalia and unlawful possession of a controlled substance.
A nurse checked Dixon out when he got to the jail, and found that he had only some high blood sugar levels, Troyer said. Dixon was alone in a cell in the booking area of the jail when he died about 9 a.m., Troyer said.