Andrew Kearse Remembered: Widow Shares the Pain of Losing Her Husband to Police

In Schenectady, New York, on May 11, 2017, 36-year-old Andrew Kearse died of a heart attack in the back of a police car. Kearse pleaded with officers from the back of the police cruiser, begging for help over 70 times in the span of 17 minutes and telling officers he was unable to breathe. In an emotionally distressing interview with Unicorn Riot, Kearse’s widow, Angelique Negroni-Kearse, shared the pain she feels after losing her husband.

Six years ago, Kearse was arrested after he allegedly ran from police following a traffic stop for erratic driving. No officers were indicted for Kearse’s in-custody death, including officer Mark Weekes, who drove the patrol car Kearse died in.

The City of Schenectady settled with Kearse’s widow for $1.375M in 2019. The Andrew Kearse Act was successfully passed and signed into law in June 2020, making law enforcement officers liable in civil court if they do not seek care for any person in their custody experiencing a medical or mental crisis. Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez and Negroni-Kearse are working to make it a criminal offense.

The Act was also introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives on May 11, 2021, but remains in bureaucratic limbo. The federal law would require “federal law enforcement officers and the Bureau of Prisons’ personnel to provide or obtain immediate medical attention for an individual in federal custody who displays medical distress.”

Husband and wife, Andrew Kearse and Angelique Negroni-Kearse, laugh as they pose for a picture. Photo via Facebook.

Since Andrew’s death, Negroni-Kearse has continued to fight for justice for her deceased husband. Watch her testimony to the International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence against People of African Descent in the United States in 2021 below.

Watch the full video that featured the Unicorn Riot interview with Negroni-Kearse taken during an event honoring Paul Castaway, killed by Denver Police in 2015, below.

Photo of Angelique Negroni-Kearse.
Photo of Angelique Negroni-Kearse.

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