NORTHPORT, AL (WBRC) - Monday, Northport Police Chief Gerald Burton defended his officers actions in the arrest of Joshua Terrell Crawford Thursday night.
"Anytime anyone loses their life it's as tragic as this is. We think our officers did what they needed to do," he told WBRC during a press conference.
Crawford died Friday at DCH. Capt. Kip Hart with Tuscaloosa Metro Homicide said officers responded to a two car crash with injuries on 5th street in Northport near the Farmer's Market.
Investigators said Crawford walked away from the scene. Northport police spotted him nearly a mile away on Robert Cardinal Road near the airport.
"Crawford actually struck the Northport police officer in the face. There was an aggressive, violent struggle," according to Hart. Police pepper sprayed Crawford and a Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's who arrived as backup tased him. But he continued to fight back even after authorities handcuffed him.
"Once he was in custody, they were talking to him trying to find out. Hey ask him questions. Are you OK, can you breathe," Hart explained.
A preliminary autopsy report could be available as early as tomorrow. A full autopsy and toxicology report could take up to six months to finish.