Family remembers man who died while in police custody over the weekend in Phoenix

A call for help about a man behaving erratically inside a Circle K in Phoenix had a deadly ending.

The incident happened early Sunday morning near 51st Avenue and McDowell. Police responded and took 49-year-old Alexander Brown into custody, but something went wrong, and Brown became unresponsive while in the patrol car. Now, the family wants answers.

"My husband was a good man and police killed my husband," said Courtney Brown. "This is another black man that has died by the hands of the police. Period. That's all I have to say."

A photo of Courtney Brown, wearing a white shirt. Her husband died while in Phoenix Police custody.

Courtney Brown

Courtney says her husband ran to the Circle K pleading for help, saying someone was after him. Someone called police at about 5:45 a.m.

"Mr. Brown enters the store, he's making statements of paranoia, he's behaving erratically, he's described as handling customers in a fearful manner," said Sgt. Vince Lewis with Phoenix Police.

Brown's wife and his sister say this doesn't describe the man they knew. 

A photo with Courtney Brown on the left, and her late husband, Anthony Brown, on the right.

Photo of Anthony Brown (Courtesy: Courtney Brown)

"He was a peaceful man," said LaShan Pope-Herman. "Ask anybody that's ever met him. My mother, his mother was a police officer. He had the utmost respect for police officers, so I just want some answers for him. I want justice for him."

According to police, Brown resisted arrest and intentionally banged his head several times inside the patrol car, which police say prompted them to call Phoenix Fire to do a medical check.

"While he was connected to the heart leads and being treated by the Phoenix Fire Department, that was when his demeanor changed," said Sgt. Lewis. "He became unresponsive."

"When he went into the police car, he was alive, and when the ambulance came and he went out of police car, he was dead," said Courtney.

An autopsy, officer's bodycam video and store video will help piece the story together, eventually.

"Please show us," said Herman. "That show us these things that may ease our minds a little about what was happening with him."

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