Christopher Eric Augustin died a long way from home, and in police custody.
Before Augustin took on the name Dick Tracy for a porn career that lasted nearly a decade and included stints in both the straight and gay side of the business, he was an aspiring Orange County high school baseball player and musician. He was handsome, athletic, and the father of a son from a former relationship.
But early on the morning of October 16, Santa Rosa police responded to a call at an apartment complex where Augustin, naked in a back room, would die within the hour. He was alleged to have held hostage one man and threatened another, both of whom had helped him transport a truckload of furniture from Palm Springs to this community 50 miles north of San Francisco.
Augustin went unconscious during the struggle with police, who restrained him with handcuffs and a “maximum restraint cord,” according to Santa Rose Sheriff’s Lt. Dennis O’Leary. (When googling “maximum restraint cord,” I only came up with nine results, most of which referred to deaths in police custody.)
If there were any other factors that resulted in Augustin’s blacking out, O’Leary doesn’t mention them.
Paramedics were called to the scene and the restraints were removed, but Augustin was pronounced dead 30 minutes later, according to this story on PressDemocrat.com.
A preliminary toxicology report showed Augustin’s urine tested positive for methamphetamine. It is chilling to read the comments on the story linked above.
This is the third porn star death in recent memory that occurred in police custody.
On Easter Sunday in April, 2012, Marland Anderson, known in porn circles as Sledge Hammer, was tasered by L.A. police in an ambulance after being disarmed in an alleged attempted suicide.
In 2010 Steven Hill (AKA Steve Driver, who had a promising career playing a porn Barack Obama), also suicidal after a sword rampage that left a former co-worker dead, was either tasered or beanbagged off a cliff by the LAPD.
While plenty of pornographers die peacefully in their sleep, the case of Dick Tracy reminds us that there is drug use and depression here, too. Tracy had not performed recently and was acknowledged to have had a drug problem. His death reminds us that we should pay attention to what warning signs there are and to always comply with police officers.