Man Dies After Arrest at Aurora Motel

By Jonah Spangenthal-Lee March 8, 2010

Seattle police are reviewing the arrest of a 48-year-old man who collapsed and later died after a confrontation with officers at an Aurora motel last week.

Family members of the 48-year-old man, identified as Christopher Wright Sr, say Wright never regained consciousness after he collapsed during the incident, and was taken off of life support Friday night.

According to a police incident report, officers were called to the Everspring Inn around 9:15 p.m. on February 28th after the motel manager heard a commotion on the building's second floor and allegedly found Wright sexually assaulting a woman in a hallway.

The report indicates the manager pepper sprayed Wright while another staff member called police.

The report states that when police arrived and attempted to take Wright into custody, he "became assaultive and struck several officers," and "was aggressive and belligerent, and his words were completely incoherent." Officers Tasered Wright, handcuffed him, and brought him to a patrol car.

According to the report, Wright continued to struggle and tried to spit on several officers. As medics were treating the man, police say he showed signs of a drug overdose.

Wright was taken to Harborview where he died two days later.

Wright's family members say they have no idea why he might have been at the Aurora motel on February 28th, and are still looking for answers about what led to the death of the 48-year-old father of four.

Wright's brother, Reece Wright, Christopher had several medical conditions: Wright was HIV positive, and also suffered from asthma. "If someone sprayed stuff in his face he wouldn't have been able to fight," Reece Wright says.

According to SPD spokesman Sean Whitcomb, officers' use of force is being reviewed as per department policy.

The King County Medical Examiner's office has not determined the cause of Wright's death and may not have a final report for 8-10 weeks.

Photo by Matt Mason

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