The cause of death of a 33-year-old man who died while being arrested was ‘acute respiratory failure caused by alcohol intoxication’, a postmortem examination has concluded.
An investigation was launched into police officers for ‘negligent manslaughter’ after Paata Pavliashvili died in Tbilisi’s Nutsubidze Plateau on 25 October while being arrested by two officers.
No traces of drugs were found during the examination, the Prosecutor’s Office has said.
‘There are no signs of injuries on the body of the deceased, except from actions conducted by paramedics’, the Prosecutor’s Office reports.
The investigation is still ongoing.
The lawyer of the deceased’s family Levan Vepkhvadze told Rustavi 2 that physical violence by police officers can now be ruled out, but that other evidence will show whether officers acted improperly.
According to the Interior Ministry, police were called to Nutsubidze Plateau in the evening of October 25 after an argument broke out between two neighbours. Police officers had diffused the situation when the man approached them and verbally insulted the neighbours as well as police, the ministry says.
‘Police officers called for orderly and lawful conduct but he did not obey their lawful demand and became more violent. In the process of conducting a lawful detention, the man suddenly felt unwell and died on the spot’, the ministry said at the time.
Ketino Todria who witnessed the detention recalls that when the man collapsed, everybody kept shouting to call the emergency services, but police continued handcuffing him.
‘He did say curse words, but it was not towards police officers particularly… I saw that they wanted to handcuff him, which I don’t know why was needed, he was so drunk he could barely stand on his feet. Men and women, everybody had been shouting to call the emergency services when he collapsed. But officers continued handcuffing him. Basically he died in the hands of police officers’, Todria told Liberali Magazine.