A 21-year-old Jackson man who died in August 2007 after a police officer jolted him with a Taser didn't die from the electric shock, Hinds County Coroner Sharon Grisham-Stewart said this week.This is one of three things: 1) some white-hot stupid; 2) a medical examiner really in love with tasers; or 3) an examiner really afraid of Taser International's legal machine. Honestly, I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.
"The pathologist report said he died of natural causes," Grisham-Stewart said.
Grisham-Stewart wouldn't release what caused Rafael Forbes' death.
The officer who used the Taser on Forbes initially was reassigned to administrative duty, routine procedure, but has since returned to regular duty.
Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith said there was no indictment in the case.
Forbes' grandmother, Eva Forbes of Jackson, said the report and the death certificate revealed her grandson died of a heart problem, but she doesn't believe that.
"He has never had any heart trouble," Eva Forbes said. "They shot him down."
Eva Forbes said her grandson had just left her house when the encounter with law enforcement occurred.
Police reports said Forbes was arrested following a foot chase near Claiborne Street.
After Forbes resisted arrest the Taser was used on him, according to the police account. He was shot in the chest, Grisham-Stewart said.
Forbes began showing signs of shortness of breath and was taken to Central Mississippi Medical Center, where he died.
After Forbes' death, Grisham-Stewart said he had a pre-existing medical condition, but she said Wednesday that didn't cause his death.
Toxicology reports showed Forbes had no drugs in his system when he died, Grisham-Stewart said.
The initial chase began when police tried to stop a 1994 Mercury Marquis that was being driven erratically, police said.
The driver attempted to elude police before finally pulling over, when the driver as well as Forbes and another passenger bailed out and began running.
Timothy Lewis, now 26, of Jackson was suspected of driving the vehicle and was arrested at the scene and also stunned with a Taser, police said.
During a search of the vehicle, police said, they discovered a pound of marijuana, a scale and about $1,000.
Lewis was indicted on charges of felony possession of marijuana and felony fleeing from law enforcement. He is out on bond.
Forbes was charged with felony fleeing from law enforcement.
Both Forbes and Lewis have previous felony arrests.
Jackson Police Department began using Tasers last year.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Seriously, come on. This story is unbelievable (the bold is my emphasis):