Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

A Maquoketa man with a history of fighting with police died in custody Saturday morning, and the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation has stepped in to investigate.

Drew Manning Edwards, 22, was pronounced dead at the Jackson County Regional Health Center following a police call that included hand-to-hand combat and the use of a taser, according to police records. 

The cause of death has not been determined, and officials said Edwards’ body was taken to the state crime lab in Ankeny, where an autopsy will be performed.

DCI Special Agent in Charge Richard Rahn said DCI is investigating Saturday’s incident but would not comment because it is an ongoing investigation.

Maquoketa Police Chief Brad Koranda confirmed the investigation.

“They’re investigating us, the incident, the totality of everything,” said Koranda, one of the officers who responded to the call.

Officers from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and the Maquoketa Police Department responded to a 911 emergency call at about 7 a.m. to 107 W. Apple St., when, according to police dispatch logs, neighbors reported three people fighting and yelling in a second-floor apartment.

Koranda said the incident ended across the street at the corner of Apple and Main, but would not further elaborate because of the ongoing investigation.

According to dispatch records, Maquoketa Police Officer Mike Owen arrived on scene first and was “going hand to hand” with Edwards. Koranda described Edwards as standing about 6 feet, 2 inches and weighing about 220 pounds, “a young strapping man with maybe shoulder-length hair.”

While police have provided only basic information, Laura Kloft, a neighbor who said she witnessed part of the incident, told the Maquoketa Sentinel-Press she heard Jackson County Chief Deputy Sheriff Steve Schroeder yelling “You need to stop. Stop resisting.” 

Kloft said she then heard a “pop” sound.

“We went outside and saw Schroeder had deployed a taser,” she said.

Kloft said she saw Schroeder and Maquoketa Assistant Police Chief Brendan Zeimet wrestle Edwards to the ground.

Kloft said Schroeder and Zeimet “had him down … with knees on him. They couldn’t get the handcuffs on him; he was thrashing around like crazy.”

Edwards continued to fight, Kloft said, and it took a third officer to put handcuffs on him. It was shortly thereafter, Kloft said, when the officers called an ambulance to the scene. 

Edwards’ criminal record includes assaults against police, disarming police, resisting arrest, and drug charges. 

In May 2018, Edwards started a fight with a Jackson County Courthouse security officer, court records show. He grabbed the officer’s holster and continued resisting the officer’s commands. Officers used a taser to subdue Edwards, whom they said appeared like he was “under the influence of drugs, alcohol or a combination of the two,” according to charging documents. A jury later found Edwards guilty of interfering with officials acts as he was being taken into custody and injuring an officer.

In an October 2016 incident, Edwards was charged with disarming and assaulting officers after taking two of their Tasers during a fight. Seven officers were needed to get him in handcuffs during that incident, according to charging documents.