The official cause of death of Dajuan Gates, 27, who was arrested by Forest Park police on Aug. 22 and died in the hospital the following day, has been released. According to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office, Gates’ death was accidental, caused by phencyclidine (PCP) toxicity.
On Nov. 24, Mayor Rory Hoskins said that since the village had not received any formal notification from the medical examiner’s office regarding the cause of death, “We cannot comment at this time.”
Hoskins also stated that, “At this time, the village is not party to any lawsuits relating to this matter.”
Attorneys hired by Gates’ family could not be reached for comment on the release of the cause of death and what impact, if any, it would have on a potential case.
In October, the village hired a team of outside investigators, R. E. Walsh and Associates, an Oakbrook-based investigative agency formed by three former FBI agents, to investigate Forest Park Police Department (FPPD) involvement in Gates’ death.
At the time, Village Administrator Tim Gillian said, “We want to remove any doubt about potential police officer misconduct.” He added that the investigation will “provide the village administrator with related reports, conclusions, consultation and/or advice as to whether the police department policies, general orders and/or standard operating procedures were appropriate and whether discipline is recommended.”
In a Nov. 24 email, Hoskins said, “The pending results from the medical examiner’s office does not change our procedures or internal investigation. The outside investigator will continue their work as scheduled. At the conclusion of that investigation, we shall incorporate any necessary changes based on the investigator’s finding and any recommendations.”
In August and at the request of the FPPD, the Illinois State Police Public Integrity Task Force also began investigating the issue. On Sept. 17 the task force reported to the Review that “while being detained by the Forest Park Police Department (FPPD) for minor offenses, Dajuan Gates … suffered from a medical emergency. Gates was transported to a local hospital, where he was admitted after being released on misdemeanor charges. The following day … he succumbed to unknown injuries.”
No further updates are available from the Illinois State Police Public Integrity Task Force, according to a public information officer on Nov. 25.
Although technically Gates had been released from police custody in the hospital before he died, the matter was called an “in-custody death” by the FPPD in an August press release.
On Aug. 22, a FPPD officer attempted to stop Gates after running a stop sign. He exited the car and fled by foot. A pistol was found near his vehicle. He was stopped by Oak Park police officers near Madison Street and Maple Avenue a short time later.
When Forest Park officers arrived on the scene, he became despondent and was administered Narcan. He was taken by ambulance to Rush Oak Park hospital, where he died the following day.