VIDEO: 12 Turkish police officers charged in the death of US woman at Istanbul airport
ISTANBUL - Doğan News AgencyA U.S. citizen who died after an altercation with police at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport in 2013 has been seen gasping for air as police officers forcibly held her to the ground in surveillance camera footage of the incident.
Tracey Lynn Brown, 48, arrived in April 2013 at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport from the Uzbek capital Tashkent to transfer to a Chicago-bound Turkish Airlines plane and waited for 13 hours in the international arrivals terminal.
According to camera footage, she entered a room belonging to the passport check bureau and had a quarrel with police officers before being removed from the room.
In their previous testimonies, the police officers had said Brown constantly asked about her daughter and was aggressive, refusing to make contact.
About six minutes later, Brown was seen again storming the room. According to the police officers’ claims, she scattered computers and documents inside.
Brown later wounded one of the police officers with a pair of scissors, according to the indictment. She was handcuffed and then taken to a preview and transfer room, the video showed.
Police officers handcuffed Brown to a chair but she was able to release herself. In response, seven police officers forced Brown to the ground face down and handcuffed her from behind. They were seen putting pressure on Brown’s back, feet and hands with their knees for about 17 minutes.
The police officers also called a doctor in the airport identified as Mesut Ö., but he was not seen making any contact with Brown. According to the indictment and the report, he ordered the medical team to inject Brown with anodyne. Mesut Ö. and the medical team then left the room about four minutes later, however they came back later when a police officer realized that Brown did not have pulse. Mesut Ö. was seen performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Brown for about seven minutes. She was later transferred to a hospital.
Brown was transferred to another hospital on the same day and spent ten days in the intensive care unit at another hospital, where she died on April 18, 2013.
The three reports requested by the Bakırköy Public Prosecutor’s Office concluded there was a casual relation between the actions of the police officers and Brown’s death.
“The cause of death was the pressure on her chest and neck area for an extended amount of time,” the report stated, adding that Brown was unconscious for 13 days.
The first two reports meanwhile did not mention any accusations against Mesut Ö., but in the most recent report issued in 2014, he was impeached for not having contact with the patient or treating her firsthand, which does not comply with medical rules.
Following the investigation, the Bakırköy Public Prosecutor’s Office filed a lawsuit against 12 police officers and Mesut Ö. on the grounds of death by excessive force and demanded imprisonment from 12 years to 16 for the police officers and from two years to six years for the doctor.
Meanwhile, the police officers defended during both their investigation and trial testimonies that they had been within their right to use force and within their legal boundaries, denying the accusations. They added Brown had suddenly entered the room and showed aggressive behavior. They also said Brown had scissors in her hand during the second altercation and attacked randomly, wounding one police officer in his hand.
The next trial of the incident is scheduled to be held in October.