Officers won't be charged for in-custody death of man at West Melbourne Publix

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — Two West Melbourne police officers will not face charges for the in-custody death of a man at a Publix in May.

Officers Jacob Mathis and Kevin Krukoski were called to the Publix on West New Haven Avenue in West Melbourne the morning of May 21 for a report of a man acting “erratically,” police said.

Police said Donald Whitmer, Jr. was being uncooperative and a physical altercation ensued. Cellphone video from a witness showed Whitmer’s struggle with police before an officer appeared to deployed a Taser on him and took him to the ground.


An officer can be seen on top of the man as the officer tells him to relax. The officer’s arm appears to be wrapped around Whitmer’s neck while they’re both on the ground.

A customer was heard in the background saying, “Don’t choke him.”

Whitmer lost consciousness and was taken to a hospital, where he died.

Under cause of death, the Medical Examiner wrote, "Agitated delirium and complications due to amphetamine and methamphetamine toxicity."

"Based on the review I have concluded that the actions of officers Jacob Mathis and Kevin Krukoski were lawful and proper," said Brevard-Seminole State Attorney Phil Archer.

The attorney for Whitmer's family told Channel 9 on Wednesday the family plans to pursue a civil lawsuit.

"For whatever reason, they decided to deploy tactics that were above and beyond the normal scope of what should have been done in that circumstance," said Whtimer family attorney John Vernon Moore. "Under any circumstances, the actions of the two officers are not acceptable."

Whitmer's family has not publicly reacted to the State Attorney's announcement.