HEALTH & SAFETY
Live events sector
A volunteer’s death at a music festival has been ruled accidental, and not the result of any actions by police, a Monmouth County grand jury has ruled. Timothy Harden, 38, was pronounced dead at Jersey Shore Medical University Medical Center after an altercation with security and law enforcement officers at the Souper Groove Music Festival at the Priedaine New Jersey Latvian Society in Howell on September 5th of last year 2015.
His family had filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Howell Township Police Department, the Latvian Society and the security agencies following his death, claiming that Harden died of “excessive force.”
According to a release from Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni, an investigation found that Harden, who was working as a volunteer at the music festival, had been acting erratically, and audience members had suspected he was under the influence of illegal substances. When approached to a security guard, Harden punched him the face in an “unprovoked attack.” A toxicology test revealed that Harden had cocaine, alcohol and marijuana in his system at the time of death,
“The cause of Harden’s death was determined to be as a result of drug-induced excited delirium and was ruled an accident by the medical examiner,” Gramiccioni said in a statement. “Based on the results of the investigation and the autopsy results, it is apparent that the actions of the officers were lawful and did not violate the Use of Force policies of the Attorney General’s Office or Monmouth County.”
The guard punched back and restrained Harden with the help of other security guards and Howell officers. Harden was belligerent and combative throughout the altercation and refused medical attention from Howell police officers, according to the statement.
Harden stopped breathing while waiting for paramedics to administer a sedative, at which point he was rushed to the hospital, Gramiccioni said.
Thomas Mallon, an attorney representing Harden’s sisters in the wrongful death suit, said he will proceed with the lawsuit. Mallon said the medical examiner found that Harden also suffered a broken rib, a fractured neck, contusions across his body and other injuries.