Alonzo Smith, a 27-year-old man from Washington, DC died after being found handcuffed in custody by private police officers.
The Metropolitan Police Department released a statement that it was investigating an incident on Sunday in which D.C. officers responded to an “assault in progress” at an apartment complex in the southeastern part of town.
Upon arrival, they found Smith unconscious and not breathing while he was still handcuffed; Smith had originally been detained by “special police officers” who were patrolling the apartment building.
Smith was later announced dead at a hospital.
Smith worked in a Virginia private school with special needs children and was pursuing a degree in social work. In 2013, he self-published a poetry book featuring work he created between the ages of 14 and 22 when he had spent time in the juvenile justice system.
Many of Smith’s co-workers from the private school mourned his death on Facebook, saying he was a “great worker” and that he did a wonderful job of keeping his students happy. Another friend from college noted that although few knew Smith’s past, many asserted that he was “destined for greatness.”
Smith’s own Facebook illustrates his passion for his career as a teacher. On Oct. 27, Smith wrote, “I’m here for all the kids.” Another continued:
“I will be at work with my smile and anxious to hear ‘Mr. Smith’ from the students. Bless my soul.”