PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -The state medical examiner’s office has released the cause of death of a man who died in police custody in East Providence.

The office said Wednesday that Leonel Farias died in February of a condition known as excited delirium, due to chronic schizophrenia.

Farias died after falling unconscious when officers tried to arrest him after responding to a domestic dispute.

His relatives accused police of using exessive force. But East Providence Police Chief Hubert Paquette has denied that, saying Farias came at the officers with a knife and refused orders to drop it.

Excited delirium is defined as a condition in which the heart races wildly and then gives out. It’s a frequently cited cause of death when suspects die in police custody, but some doctors have said it’s being overdiagnosed.

AP-ES-07-02-08 1854EDT

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.