Man who overdosed in police custody says he wasn't searched when arrested

Editor's note: This article was updated on Saturday, July 30, 2016, to correct the name of Sgt. Gary Herland.

PITTSFIELD — City police are investigating how a suspect in custody got a bottle of prescription pills into the station and swallowed them in an apparent overdose attempt.

Billie J. Twing said through his attorney, Joseph Zlatnik, he was not searched at the time of his July 22 arrest, nor when he was later brought to the Pittsfield Police Department for booking.

Twing, 35, was granted permission to use the restroom prior to booking and, according to police, swallowed approximately 52 Klonopin tablets from a prescription bottle he had in his pocket. Klonopin is a powerful anti-seizure medication and sedative.

Twing was hospitalized in the Intensive Care Unit at Berkshire Medical Center following the overdose. He was arraigned in Central Berkshire District Court Monday.

"The department is currently conducting an internal investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding this incident," said Pittsfield Police Lieutenant Michael Maddalena Friday via email

Maddalena said he is handling that ongoing investigation and is still receiving reports and documents from those involved.

"I am working diligently to gather the facts so that I can fully document the incident and advise (Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn) of my findings," Maddalena said.

According to a police report written by patrol officer James Parise, he and three other officers, patrol officers Walter Powell and Jennifer Brueckmann and Sgt. Gary Herland, took Twing into custody.

Powell transported Twing to the station where he was to be booked by Sgt. Matthew Hill.

Twing has an extensive criminal history, including drug offenses, assault and battery, rape and violation of an abuse prevention order. He has been arraigned in adult court 56 times and 10 times in juvenile court, police said.

In 2004, Twing was sentenced to 7 to 10 years in prison on rape and assault and battery charges.

He was arrested on his most recent charges — assault and battery on a family or household member (subsequent offense), assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, intimidation of a witness, kidnapping and threatening to commit a crime (murder) — after a woman reported she was assaulted by him and held against her will.

Twing was present in Central Berkshire District Court on Friday for a pretrial hearing, during which Judge William Rota revoked his bail for 90 days on a pending Berkshire Superior Court case and set a $1,000 bail in his new case.

Twing is due back in court on Aug. 10 for a pretrial hearing in his new case and he's expected in Superior Court in October for a pretrial hearing on drug distribution and other charges.

Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions