Excelsior Springs Police Chief Details Events Leading Up to Detainee’s Death

Police Tape

A 21-year-old male, Benjamin Chase died Sunday afternoon (5/8/22)while in the custody of the Excelsior Springs Police Department. Police Chief, Gregory Dull said that ESPD responded to a call on Saturday afternoon from the Elms Hotel on a report of a “suspicious party.” Dull said it was reported that Chase was wandering around the parking lot, approaching people who were coming in and out of the hotel, and exhibiting generally “bizarre behavior.” Dull said that by the time officers arrived on the scene, Chase had moved down to the Fishing River near the hotel, and when officers located him, he appeared to be bathing himself in the water. According to Dull, officers gave Chase verbal commands to come out to speak with them, but he refused and began trying to evade them. At some point during the pursuit, Dull says Chase charged at one of the officers resulting in the officer using a taser on Chase to immobilize him.

Dull said the officers followed standard procedure and had EMS come to the scene to remove probes and give a general welfare check. Dull said that Chase refused medical attention at the scene. After running a background check on Chase it was discovered that he had an outstanding warrant for his arrest. “He [Chase] had just gotten out of Clay County jail on Thursday, and he was supposed to be back Friday for his home detention monitoring device, and he didn’t show and that’s why they issued the warrant for him,” said Dull. At some point during the arrest Chase also confessed to the use of methamphetamine.

Since taking over as police chief earlier this year, Dull has implemented a guideline within the department of holding inmates for the shortest time possible. He said, “If they can’t bail out within four hours, I want them sent to the county because we’re not equipped to be a long-term holding facility.” While detainees are being held at the Excelsior Springs jail, Dull said they are monitored constantly via video, and in-person welfare checks are performed regularly. On weekends, Clay Co. does not pick up detainees, leaving ESPD to transport the detainees to Clay County facilities themselves. Dull said, on Saturday they were holding as many as nine individuals in the Excelsior Springs jail. Officers had begun the process of transporting and were down to just Chase and one other detainee, but transports were delayed because of emergency calls.

When the officers came back to ESPD headquarters, the Corporal on duty had one of the officers go back and check on the two detainees, and that’s when they found Chase unresponsive. In a press release issued on Thursday, Dull stated, “Mr. Chase was found at 4:13 PM to be unresponsive. EMS was immediately requested and responded to the scene. At 4:19 PM, EMS personnel pronounced Mr. Chase deceased.” Dull said he was eager to receive the results of the toxicology report as he believes it will be “very revealing.” According to the press release the Clay County Investigative Squad was called in to examine Mr. Chase’s death, and the case is ongoing.

Read the full press release issued by ESPD on Thursday.

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