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Man Dies after Struggle with St. Petersburg Police

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The man collapsed while officers were arresting him, St. Petersburg police said.

ST. PETERSBURG – A man died at a local hospital Wednesday (Jan. 4) after he fought with police while being arrested, the St. Petersburg Police Department said.

Joshua G. Dove,. 35, was declared dead at St. Anthony’s Hospital where he was taken after he collapsed. The cause of death will be determined during an autopsy, the department said.

Police received a tip that drugs were being used by men who were outside 1401 5th Ave. N. Officer Patrick McGovern, a 21-year department veteran, arrived and found five people, including Mr. Dove, on the property. McGovern said he asked the group to leave. All complied, except Mr. Dove, who became confrontational with McGovern.

At one point, officers said, he ran onto Fifth and then back toward McGovern. One of the other men present tried to restrain Mr. Dove, but he threw a punch at the officer. Mr. Dove and the other man fell to the ground as Officer Bradley Lightfield, an eight-year department veteran, arrived to help McGovern.

A violent struggle ensued as the two officers tried to arrest Mr. Dove. McGovern used his Taser with no apparent effect because Mr. Dove continued to fight with the officers and resist arrest.

Two more officers, Mark Carr and Russell Zitzelberg, both 27-year department veterans, arrived and tried to help control Mr. Dove. Officers said they used a Taser a second time with more effect because they were able to control Mr. Dove and handcuff him. They lifted Mr. Dove from the ground to walk him to a patrol car, but he began kicking and again resisted.

Officers said they tried to secure his legs, but, while applying leg restraints, Mr. Dove stopped resisting and became limp.

St. Petersburg Fire Rescue paramedics had been called because Tasers had been used. They arrived as Mr. Dove became medically distressed. Police said paramedics provided aid and took Mr. Dove two blocks to St. Anthony’s, where he was pronounced dead at 8 a.m.

Mr. Dove’s death is being investigated by the St. Petersburg Police Department’s major crimes unit, the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s Office, and the District Six Medical Examiner’s Office.

None of the officers was injured during the arrest and all of the officers will remain on full-duty status, the department said.

No drugs were found on Mr. Dove, but officers said witnesses told them that Mr. Dove had smoked synthetic cannabinoids, commonly known as “Spice” just before McGovern’s arrival.

For information about the St. Petersburg Police Department, go to

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Man Dies after Struggle with St. Petersburg Police
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Man Dies after Struggle with St. Petersburg Police
The man collapsed while officers were arresting him, St. Petersburg police said.
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TB Reporter
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