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Man dies after police foot chase

By Linda Looney-Bond

lbond@news-daily.com

Authorities are awaiting the results of an autopsy on a 21-year-old man who died early Thursday after being arrested by Forest Park Police.

Latiff Sanogo Stephens, of Atlanta, was arrested Wednesday afternoon, when police responded to a shoplifting call at the Citi Trends clothing store at 4681 Jonesboro Road, Forest Park Police Maj. Chris Matson said in a statement. Police were dispatched to the store, located in the Clayton Plaza Shopping Center, around 5 p.m.

When officers arrived at the store, they witnessed Stephens exiting the business, according to the statement.

After speaking to Stephens and store personnel, officers attempted to arrest Stephens for alleged shoplifting, and a struggle and foot pursuit ensued, Matson said.

One officer was injured in the struggle and unable to continue in the pursuit. A second officer chased Stephens on foot for about a quarter of a mile, and found him hiding in a Dumpster, Matson said in the statement. Stephens was then taken into custody.

"A few minutes afterwards, Stephens began to complain of difficulty breathing, and Forest Park EMS was called to the scene," Matson said. "During their examination, Stephens lost consciousness, treatment was administered and he was immediately transported to Southern Regional Medical Center."

Stephens' condition worsened, and he died Thursday at about 4:30 a.m., Matson said.

In a phone interview Thursday, Matson said officers did not use a Taser on Stephens.

"Nothing was used on him - no equipment, no weapon. It [the struggle] was just physical," he said.

Both police officers involved in the struggle were treated for injuries at Southern Regional Medical Center and released Wednesday evening, according to Matson. One of the officers will require follow-up surgery for a shoulder injury, Matson said.

He said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into the case. GBI spokesman John Bankhead said the agency's medical examiner conducted an autopsy on Stephens Thursday, but he did not have information on any results.