MOORHEAD — The man who died after being arrested in Moorhead Tuesday, March 3, has been identified by authorities as an advocate who helped found a nonprofit group that ran the Fargo area’s first needle exchange program.
Jeremy Robert Kelly, of Fargo, complained he had trouble breathing while being arrested by four officers with the High Plains Fugitive Task Force on warrants for failing to appear on a felony drug charge and fleeing police, according to a news release from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
Kelly, 50, blacked out as paramedics arrived and was taken by ambulance to Sanford Medical Center in Fargo where he died hours later, the release said.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating Kelly’s death, and his body was taken to Ramsey County, Minn., for an autopsy. The medical examiner will release the cause and manner of death after microscopic examination and toxicology tests, authorities said.
The BCA said there is no body camera footage of the arrest but that it is reviewing whether squad car dash cameras captured parts of the incident. Investigators are interviewing people involved in the incident and said they plan to release more information once the interviews are complete.
Kelly was well known locally as a drug harm reduction advocate. In 2015, he helped found the Fargo/Moorhead Good Neighbor Project, a nonprofit group that provides a syringe exchange program and rapid HIV and Hepatitis C testing for users of intravenous drugs.
Kelly had also worked as a harm reduction specialist for Fargo Cass Public Health, where he lent his expertise from his nonprofit work to help run the health agency’s needle exchange program.