FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCBD) – A man died after he was taken into police custody following a bar fight early Wednesday morning in the city of Folly Beach.
The cause of his death is unknown, but the man was in squad car when he appeared to have a medical emergency.
Folly Beach Police Chief Andrew Gilreath said the man, whose name has not been released, died shortly after getting into a fight with another man.
“I watched everything happen,” said Anthony Greeno, a friend of the man who died in the incident.
Greeno claims his friend’s death was avoidable because police failed to respond fast enough. The investigation is ongoing, according to police.
Folly Beach Police and Charleston County Deputies reported to a fight in progress on Center Street shortly before 1 a.m.
“We were just hanging out, having some drinks. They were just talking, drunk guys talking,” Greeno said. “It really wasn’t that big of a deal, they just kind of argued a bit, they got into it and hit each other a couple times. And it was done.”
Gilreath said one of the men involved in the fight had already left the scene by the time the police arrived. The suspect was found about a block away from where the fight occurred.
He was transported back to the scene of the incident “without any use of force,” according to Gilreath. After the suspect was detained, he appeared to suffer a medical emergency.
Police performed CPR on the man, reportedly in his 50s, and medics were called. He was taken to Medical University of South Carolina Hospital where he later died.
Greeno said it is possible his friend had a heart attack, and “he was clearly injured and they didn’t do anything about it.”
He said his friend was visiting Folly Beach from out of town to celebrate his birthday.
The second man involved in the fight was also taken to a hospital and is listed in stable condition, Gilreath said.
Authorities are still unsure what led to the fight.
With an investigation ongoing, Greeno wants more done and says if police acted faster maybe his friend would still be alive.
“They treated him too much a criminal and didn’t help him when he actually needed it,” he said.