NEW YORK (AP) - The death of a Harlem woman who went into cardiac arrest after a mistaken drug raid on her apartment has been ruled a homicide.
A police informant had wrongly identified 57-year-old Alberta Spruill's apartment as one used by a drug dealer to stash cocaine and heroin. During the raid May 16, officers detonated a flash grenade and handcuffed the woman.
Spruill's heart disease was aggravated by the raid, the medical examiner's office said Tuesday.
The district attorney's office is investigating. No charges have been filed.
In the wake of the woman's death, the police announced Tuesday the department will now keep track of search warrants with a centralized database. It will allow investigators to spot patterns of problem searches and quickly determine the names of officers involved in such raids.
After realizing their mistake, police officers apologized to Spruill, who told them she had a heart condition, authorities said. Spruill was a retired city employee.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly transferred the commander of the precinct whose officers raided Spruill's apartment, saying he did not adequately supervise the operation.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg apologized for Spruill's death to mourners at her funeral Saturday.
Spruill's family has notified the city that it intends to sue.
Copyright © 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.