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'He died like an animal': Some police still 'hogtie' people despite risks

A joint investigation by NBC News and The Marshall Project found that a dangerous practice roundly rejected by experts has persisted in many places
Credit: Travis Dove / for The Marshall Project
Marcus Smith's parents, Mary and George, and his sister, Kim Suber, outside City Hall in Greensboro, N.C. "The only thing Marcus wanted was help,” his father said.

This investigation was published in partnership with The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization covering the U.S. criminal justice system. Sign up for The Marshall Project’s newsletter or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — On a warm October day in 2018, George and Mary Smith drove to police headquarters, where they had a 2 p.m. appointment to watch video of the death of their son Marcus.

Nearly everything they knew about the September 2018 incident in which he died came from a Greensboro Police Department press release, which said he had been suicidal and combative before collapsing as police tried to help him. A lawyer had secured their right to watch the body camera footage.

When they got to headquarters, Mary changed her mind.

"A mother doesn't want to see her child fall off a bicycle, much less getting beat to death," she said. "And that's when I decided I did not want to watch."

Click here to read the full investigation on NBC News.