State Police Investigate Death In Portsmouth, After Struggle With Police

A Portsmouth man died during an arrest. His mother told Abc6 an officer and paramedics sprayed the 25-year-old with mace and pinned him down.       

State police have now taken over the investigation.

His mother was pretty shaken up when she said her son came to see her at her  apartment and he ended up dying right outside her front door. She said her son has a history of mental illness and police were trying to restrain him.

Craig Raposa's mom said her son suffocated Friday afternoon when police sprayed him with mace and tried to hold him down. The 25 year old went to visit her at Bay View Apartments in Portsmouth, when she didn't answer the door he got worried and called police.     

That's when neighbors saw an officer chasing Craig in the parking lot.  “I noticed the police officer chasing the man with a can of mace,” said one neighbor, “The man kept screaming I can't see, I can't see, I can't see.”

That neighbor lived just a couple doors down from Craig's mom and came home from work to find an ambulance outside and Craig running around.     

Another neighbor stepped in when he heard the commotion. “They got him to the ground and he was trying to get up and like the police officer was on the back of his head and had him to the ground and he was moving and he was lifting everybody else up,” he said, “There were three paramedics and a police officer. The next thing you know he was on the ground and he didn't move.”

Craig's mom said police called her over and she knelt beside her son. She heard him say I'm sorry a couple times and then nothing. Neighbors told us more police showed up about 15 minutes later.

“They rolled him over and he was like this,” said the neighbor, “They were on top of him for a little bit too when he was on his back after he stopped moving. They didn't try to resuscitate him or anything.”

Craig's mom said he was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder about 5 years ago and was being treated. We've contacted state police a number of times and they told us they are not releasing details right now. They still won't release why Craig was being arrested.