November 15, 2019 — The District Attorney’s Office is reviewing information recently turned over from the 7th Judicial Critical Incident Team regarding the Aug. 21 death of Mark Porter.
Delta Police Department officers encountered Porter, 33, in a mobile home park Aug. 18, as they responded to reports of a person who was possibly breaking into vehicles. Porter was shaking, mumbling and appeared confused, the DPD said, so officers called for medical assistance.
Porter reportedly told them he was high on “a very large dose of methamphetamine,” and then ran into a narrow walkway between a home and a fence, which Porter then began ripping up and throwing. He appeared to lack control over all of his body movements, the DPD said in an August announcement of the incident.
Porter was said to have kept trying to fight/escape and was Tasered to no effect. Eventually, he emerged, but his movements were still jerking.
“After all attempts to achieve cooperation failed, an officer tackled Porter, which put him in a position to be handcuffed. Porter began to kick, twist, turn and pull away in an effort to free himself while he made grunting noises and tossed his head back and forth,” the DPD said in August.
The agency said Porter kept moving and kicking when paramedics arrived. Although he began calming down, he then went limp and unconscious.
Porter was taken to the hospital in Delta and then to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, where he died Aug. 21.
Porter’s cause of death was not available; the Mesa County coroner transferred jurisdiction back to Delta County, where the coroner was out of the office Thursday.
The DPD did not release the names of the officers who had been on the call, because the matter was referred to the critical incident team.
The team is composed of law enforcement officials within the 7th Judicial District and routinely reviews cases in which use of force is involved.
The team’s case went to the DA this week; District Attorney Dan Hotsenpiller said he received a briefing from the lead investigator, as well as the entire file.
“We will now review the materials, which include reports, (body cam) videos and medical records,” he said.
After the review, the prosecutor’s office will make a decision as to whether the officers’ conduct was justified and whether any charges are warranted; it will also release a report of its findings.
“We cannot predict how long this process will take,” Hotsenpiller said.
Delta Police Chief Lucas Fedler is declining to comment until after the DA’s review is complete, his spokeswoman said.