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DA, OPD Investigate

Death In Holding Cell 

Suspect May Have Ingested Drugs,

Causing Heart Attack, Chief Says

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Kenneth Faulkner

ONEONTA – Oneonta Police and Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl are investigating a death in police custody last evening, after a man arrested on narcotics-trafficking charges swallowed what might have been cocaine, according to Police Chief Douglas Brenner.

To Brenner’s knowledge, this is the first time a suspect has died in OPD custody.

Kenneth J. Faulkner, 52, New Rochelle, was arrested on a warrant at about 5 p.m. at 85 Ford Ave., and taken to the city’s Public Safety Building, Brenner said.  About 5:35 p.m., a second warrant was served at the building, allowing “a body search. “

“He was on the threshold of the door of the holding cell, and in three seconds he had managed to close the door and get the drugs into his mouth,” Brenner said in a interview this afternoon. “The officer opened the door and tried to get him to spit out the drugs.”

Other officers were called in to bring Faulkner to the ground and handcuff him, but it was quickly discovered that Faulkner has swallowed whatever was in his mouth, and an ambulance was called. “He had a seizure and went into cardiac arrest,” said Brenner. “It is, to my knowledge, the first death we’ve had in our custody.”

Though the investigation is ongoing, Brenner said he believes protocol was followed. An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow, including a toxicology screening. “It’s quite possible that there were other medical complications,” he said.

He does, however, intend to look into how the strip-search policy can be changed to prevent such issues in the future. “We’re going to look into doing something with the door,” he added.

“This is unfortunate,” he added. “This is not how the justice system is supposed to work.”



  1. Did he die from the door hitting him? Did he die from a teaser? No, what killed him was INGESTING COCAINE, his doing! Why does it always have to be a BLACK THING? Those cells have a camera right there in front of them, yes I’ve been a guest there on numerous occasions, I have also spent the better part of 20 years in prison.I’m not proud of my criminal behavior, but, I’m WHITE! I’ve taken lumps from cops, I’ve been a very physical and combative inmate at times, and have caught a beating or two! I’m not a fan of police, the only thing I hate more is this poor minority, he was singled out because he was BLACK!! He sold cocaine, the cops didn’t just pick him over everyone in Oneonta!! So please stop that b.s. , I was guilty of my charges, I KNEW WHEN I WAS COMMITING CRIMES there was a good chance I’d get caught, so when I did I took my licks and moved on. Again I’m Irish and Polish, don’t get much whiter than that! I’m just sorry to hear the guy died, white or black. STOP BLAMING OTHERS!!

  2. To me it’s interesting that while in police custody they watched the man try to swallow the drugs and rather than trying to make sure he didn’t overdose, they cuffed him, and let him die. Right across the hall from oneonta police (INSIDE THE SAME BUILDING) ARE 5-10 individuals trained in ADVANCED LIFE SUPPORT. I know because I was once a firefighter/emt in that very building. How is it tgis man died in custody when help is literally across the hall. The oneonta police force is a crooked establishment laced with scandal. It’s an unfortunate occurrence but doesn’t surprise me in the least. I’ve personally been a victim of their abuse with no cause. I’ve watched the racist acts. And I’m white. Not saying the man wasn’t guilty but to let him die when they state they WATCHED him swallow the drugs is absurd and I hope someone pays for this clear neglect of HUMAN life.

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