YAKIMA — The Yakima County Special Investigations Unit has launched a possible homicide investigation into the death of a 33-year-old woman taken into protective police custody.
The Yakima Police Department responded to a citizens-assist call where Tiffany Alexis Eubanks was reportedly walking in and out of traffic around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Yakima Herald-Republic reported.
Police responded to assist paramedics who were attempting to treat Eubanks, authorities said, adding officers handcuffed her when she became combative and placed her in protective custody, fearing she could injure herself.
Special Investigations Unit commander David Johnson said ambulances do not transport a handcuffed person unless an officer rides along.
“They just needed to transport her to the hospital, and the decision was made at that time to transfer her in the patrol car,” said Johnson, adding Eubanks didn’t appear to be injured or in need of immediate medical attention.
While on the way to the hospital, Eubanks began experiencing a medical crisis in the back of the patrol car and was unresponsive when the car arrived at the hospital, police said. She was taken inside, and CPR was performed.
Eubanks died Wednesday around 3 a.m. at Virginia Mason Memorial hospital in Yakima.
A homicide investigation is standard procedure in such cases, Johnson said.
Chief Matthew Murray handed the investigation over to the special investigations unit Tuesday and asked the department’s professional standards office to initiate an internal investigation to determine if the officers followed department policy.