Authorities are investigating the death of a man who stopped breathing after a violent struggle with police Tuesday night, officials said.

According to a statement released by the Berkeley Police Department just after 4 p.m., authorities were dispatched to the 2000 block of Allston Way for a mental health evaluation at about 11:50 p.m. Tuesday.

“Upon arrival, uniformed officers spoke with the reporting party and were directed to the 41 year old male subject’s residence nearby,” according to the statement. “During the contact, the subject became increasingly agitated and uncooperative to the officer’s verbal commands and began to scream and violently resist. After struggling with officers they were able to gain control of the subject and place him in restraints. The subject continued to kick and scream at officers.”

Police said that, due to the man’s “large stature,” officers asked the Berkeley Fire Department for a gurney to help transport him “for further evaluation.” Police declined to release additional details about the man’s height or weight.

“While under restraint officers determined the subject was not breathing and immediately began CPR,” according to the statement. The Berkeley Fire Department took the man to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police notified the district attorney’s office, and the case is being investigated by the Detective Division, according to department policy. Also per department policy, the police officers who responded to the call have been placed on administrative leave, said Officer Stephanie Polizziani of the Berkeley Police Department.

Sgt. Patricia Wilson of the coroner’s office said she did not have details on the case. Generally speaking, she said, it would be investigated in the same manner as any death in Alameda County that is considered “unnatural.”

Those types of investigations include consolidating reports from law enforcement agencies, reviewing the medical history, putting together a case file and interviewing witnesses.

“We don’t do anything specific for law enforcement-involved cases,” she said. “We investigate all deaths from the same perspective.”

This story was updated at 5:30 p.m. 

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Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist of the Year...