Eleanor Northington a 43-year-old Black woman died on her church floor. After an Indianapolis police officer placed his knee into her back.
The Indianapolis Police Department is facing a lawsuit. Two years following the death of Eleanor Northington. Northington, a 43-year-old Black woman. Died on her church floor. After an Indianapolis police officer placed his knee into her back. The mother of three died in front of her son. Uttering the words “I Can’t Breathe,” before taking her last breath.
D’Asia Montgomery, Eleanor Northington’s daughter, filed a lawsuit against the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and Mt. Calvary Apostolic Church. Alledging both parties played a part in her mother’s death. The lawsuit accuses the officers of using excessive force while detaining her. Violating her mother’s 4th and 14th Amendment rights. Mt Calvary is being accused of negligence. The complaint states that the officers should have been aware of the serious injury. Or possible death handcuffing an obese woman with her face down on the carpet. The lawsuit added that excessive force caused Northington to suffocate.
On February 6, 2019, Indiana police responded to a call about a church member. Reportedly Northington was having a mental health crisis at Mt. Calvary Apostolic Church. According to the lawsuit. As the officers were trying to restrain Northington. She fought back. Reportedly assaulting and spitting on the officers and church members. The church pastor aided the officers by using a cloth to place over her mouth to prevent her from spitting.
Witnesses say Northington was heard saying she couldn’t breathe. But the officers ignored her. Minutes later, Eleanor Northinbgton stopped breathing. The police report also states that officers uncuffed Northington. And tried to revive her. First responders rushed Northington to the hospital. Where she was immediately placed on life support. Two days later, Eleanor Northington was taken off life support. The autopsy was conducted by the Marion County coroner’s office. Noted that Northington’s death is the result of a lack of oxygen to the brain. And pre-existing conditions, including obesity and an enlarged heart.
An investigation found the officers not guilty of violating any administrative rules.
Tamara Anderson is a freelance writer in the Chicagoland area. She has featured articles in multiple entertainment and hip-hop media outlets.