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Authorities probe death of Waukegan man who died in custody

June 30, 2019

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) — The Lake County Coroner’s Office and Illinois State Police are investigating the death of a man who authorities claim died after eating a “white substance” while fleeing officers on foot.

Avion Cotton’s autopsy shows “multiple bags containing a white rocklike substance were found in his stomach and esophagus.”

Preliminary toxicology reports are pending, as is the cause of death.

Witnesses have claimed that police used excessive force.

Police have said the 31-year-old was chewing on the white substance Thursday afternoon as he ran from officers serving a search warrant in Waukegan. Police Chief Wayne Walles has said Cotton became “physically distressed” and detectives called for an ambulance. Cotton was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.

The incident has been classified as an in-custody death.

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