Intoxicated Man Dies While Handcuffed In Mahwah Home, Police Say

Man's father called police after he locked himself in a bathroom and wouldn't come out, according to cops

An allegedly intoxicated 25-year-old Mahwah man died Sunday night while police were responding to a 911 call from his father, Chief Jim Batelli said.

A Campgaw Road resident called police Sunday at 10:16 p.m. when his son, Michael Garbowski, was believed to be under the influence of narcotics and/or alcohol and was locked in a second floor bathroom, Batelli said.

Garbowski was taken from the bathroom after refusing to leave, kicking or punching the walls, and speaking incoherently, Batelli said. After several attempts to get Garbowski out of the bathroom, his father forced open the door, police said.

He was handcuffed and “while awaiting the arrival of Valley Hospital medics and Company 4 ambulance, one of the officers observed [that Garbowski had] stopped breathing,” Batelli said.

Police officers administered emergency life support at the scene before transporting Garbowski to an area hospital. He was pronounced dead at the hospital, Batelli said.

Evidence recovered in the home included “narcotic contraband,” police said. Police declined to say the types of drugs found in the home.

The incident has been referred to the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, as are all “in-custody” deaths, Batelli said.


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Glenn Murphy September 18, 2012 at 02:18 AM
More Problems are "Comming to" Mahwah since the Major Building Boom!!
No1Dad September 18, 2012 at 11:27 AM
Drug abuse are like a slow death. May God bless those he leaves behind.
Chopped Meet September 18, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Perhaps you are as well Bob, we all forgive you.
Mahwah0968 September 18, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Mr. Murphy Please tell me your “Major Building Boom” is not in reference to the Crossroads project? If that is the case that might be one of the most idiotic statements I have ever heard. How can you compare an isolated tragic incident to the Crossroads project. I am all for someone’s right to express their opinion but this has been the pattern of comments that come from the Stop the Mall protestors. Any tragic event that may occur in Mahwah you use it as a response to the development of the town. Rather than get into a long discussion about your ridiculous statement. Let us pass our condolences to the family of the victim and our heartfelt thanks to the police and Ems personal who tried to help this man during a very tragic time in his life. My prayers to the family.
Lance September 18, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Thank you Mahwah0968, was just gonna say something very similar, very out of line and disrespectful for Mr. Murphy to make that outrageous comment. God Bless Michael and his family.
John September 18, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Glenn Murphy, you would know all about drug abuse right, cuz you were convicted of Sale of a Controlled Substance on 12/11/1985 doctet #msre40849558 and what do you care what goes up in mahwah, your a lodi resident now!
Bob September 18, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Dear John, Thank you for humbling that fool!
mike camaro September 18, 2012 at 11:09 PM
I Love You Mike u were an amazing person n friend with a giant heart n would do anything for anyone u were my best friend u will forever be in my heart n will always be missed it was too early for you but I will cheerish the good times n the memories will never be forgotten RIP brother
rodney van dunk September 19, 2012 at 02:32 AM
very sad may mike RIP he was in his own house he did nothing wrong he had a problem they should of let him be until the ambulance came there was no need to handcuff him may god bless his family
Truth Hurts September 19, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Really Rodney?! Your ignorance is only trumped by your pathetic punctuation and grammar. Excellent plan... Leave him locked in the bathroom where he is doing god knows what for ten to fifteen minutes until the EMTs show up and send them in to deal with someone in obvious crisis. And READ the article... The officers tried to talk him out and his father opened the door. This is a tragic incident and if he is a friend, you are disrespecting him by using this as an opportunity to blog about the police.
Andy Schmidt September 19, 2012 at 06:12 AM
You did read that he was kicking/punching the walls? You did read that his FATHER forced the door open? In that state, it wouldn't be unheard of that someone manages to seriously hurt himself (and you'd be first blaming the police for NOT having stepped in!) Restraining him while waiting for the ambulance to arrive eventually seems quite appropriate.
rodney van dunk September 19, 2012 at 09:00 AM
well im sorry i am not trying to start anything i have been arrested in my past and when your handcuffed it is realy hard to breath and drinking would realy make hard to breath. its very sad lets just pray for the family and if my spelling is in correct please dont read this
Truth Hurts September 19, 2012 at 11:28 AM
No.. You were trying to start something and now you realize how stupid your comments were so you're saying you weren't!
Mahwah Resident September 23, 2012 at 04:00 AM
Truth Hurts I think you are trying to start something.. . . We will never no if the handcuffs had anything to do with the young mans death or not. Let's get back to the true meaning of the story and pray him and his family. Very sad.....
inmyheartforeverMG October 06, 2012 at 04:27 PM
not a day goes by where i am not thinking of you. i love you michael, words cannot even describe how much i miss you. you were a beautiful man inside & out. you were loving, caring & funny. you will forever be in my heart. may you rest peacefully & watch over us <3
Dave Justdave December 25, 2013 at 08:30 PM
i love all the people that yelled at rodney for saying "you did read he was kikcing blah blah, and punching blah blah"... You people are the idiots. just cuz u read something doesn't mean that it's true. idiots. u have no idea what happened.


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