The death of Paul Gianelos has been ruled an accident by the Fairfax County Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the Fairfax County Department Police Department reported Aug. 5.
Gianelos died in police custody Aug. 20 following a struggle. The severely autistic man had been on an outing at Round Tree Park when he wandered away from his caretaker.
According to the FCPD, police offers from the Mason Police District found Gianelos a mile away from the park on Annandale Road and attempted to engage him in conversation while trying to reunite him with the caregiver. Gianelos became “physically combative with the officer and a struggle ensued,” and he was “taken to the ground and handcuffed.”
He sustained an abrasion, then when medical personnel arrived, he “experienced an apparent medical emergency.” He was given CPR and transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he died a short time later.
At the time, advocates for the disabled told the Annandale Blog the situation could have been handled better.