Tuscaloosa Police address death of man pepper sprayed during arrest

Tuscaloosa Police address death of man pepper sprayed during arrest

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steve Anderson addressed the death of a man pepper sprayed as he was being arrested by police on Friday.

Police chased 35-year-old Anthony Dewayne Ware into woods near an apartment on Friday while they were attempting to arrest him. Ware had a warrant out for his arrest for attempting to elude police.

Officers caught up with Ware and during a struggle, sprayed him with pepper spray. After officials sprayed him and they were removing him from the woods, Ware became distressed and had trouble breathing. He later died at a Tuscaloosa area hospital.

The original 911 caller that brought officers to the apartment said that Ware was armed with a gun. Anderson said officers have not recovered a weapon at this time.

Chief Steven Anderson said he has watched the body camera and dash camera footage of the arrest. He adds that the video will be released to the public and will not be edited.

"We hope that by doing this, this will shed some light on the incident itself and dispel some of the rumors that are out there," Anderson said. "And show that we are being as transparent as possible in our efforts to be truthful and factual about what happened."

Anderson has met with the family of Anthony Ware and says he tried to answer their questions. Anderson said he will meet with the family once again to view the video and audio before releasing it to the public and media.

Anderson was asked if Tuscaloosa police officers undergo training with the pepper spray. He said all officers employed by his department must undergo exposure to the spray to understand how it feels to be sprayed and its effects.

"It was troubling to me, it was concerning. It brought back a lot of the issue to the forefront of my mind that have been occurring in our country for the last year and a half or so," Anderson said.

Anderson said his department is committed to continued public safety and being honest and open about what has happened.

The investigation is ongoing and FOX6 will continue to follow this story as it develops.

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