Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Witness To A Tasing

Daniel Buckner is dead after being tased 3-times:
Police say while they were trying to put Buckner in the van, he got combative with Erlanger and Hamilton County corrections officers. They wound up shocking him with a Taser. Once they subdued him, officers then loaded the 53-year-old into the van.

But when they got to Moccasin Bend, Buckner was unresponsive. Officers drove him back to Erlanger. He was pronounced dead.

"Y'all have to show me a camera, show my husband standing up there fighting with them before I believe them," Buckner says, fighting back tears.

His wife and children say at the time of the incident, Buckner was in a wheelchair, weak from weight loss and dehydration. They say they were told by Erlanger staff he'd fallen out of the wheelchair and onto the ground. And they say Erlanger administrators told them officers shocked him with the Taser three times, all while he was still on the ground. ...

Chattanooga police are now questioning the Erlanger and Hamilton County corrections officers involved in the incident. A department spokesperson says they'll be looking into how many times Buckner was shocked with the Taser and if it caused his death.

The investigation hinges on the medical examiner's autopsy which, as of Monday evening, was not yet complete.

Alice Buckner is hoping that report will give her family the answers they need.

"There was no cause for three Tasers," Buckner cries. "I wanna know why you had to do that three times to my husband. And him already sick and weak and coming out of that hospital like that?"

An account from an eyewitness, of course, differs from police claims that Buckner was combative:

A witness has come forward in the case of the man who died after Erlanger officers shocked him with a Taser. ...

The witness tells us she was at the hospital that day, waiting on family member who was receiving treatment, when she saw a man being escorted out of the west wing door by a man and a woman.

The witness says she saw Buckner fall to his knees and the woman holding him began asking him, why are you doing this? The witness says Buckner appeared weak, as though he was having trouble standing.

While Buckner was on the ground, staff brought out a wheelchair, but the witness says they couldn't lift Buckner into the chair. That's when Erlanger Police came out.

The witness took a picture showing what happened next. You can see a man on the ground, surrounded by hospital staff and uniformed officers.

The witness says one of those officers put her fist into Buckner's chest, and he began screaming in pain. Then she says the officer grabbed Buckner by the back of the head and told him to get up. The woman says Buckner rolled over, onto his stomach and when he didn't get off the ground, the witness says, that's when another officer pulled out his Taser. She says the male officer shocked him three times with the Taser. She says he was on the ground the entire time.

Erlanger officers told detectives handling the case that Buckner he got combative. The witness, who says she was there when the van originally pulled up and also says she stayed for the entire incident responds: "I never saw that. Never. At no point." She says she also never saw him struggle, fight or even yell at anyone at anytime.

"The only thing I heard him say was 'Aaaah' when she was putting her fist in his chest," the witness says.

When do we stop paying law enforcement to tase us into submission and then lie about it?