Monday, February 04, 2008

Another Death Following Tasing

A fifty-year-old man died on Sunday after being tased:

The Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol has been called in to investigate the death of a man who died shortly after being shot with a Taser by Rankin County Sheriff's deputies on Sunday.

The 50-year-old man died in front of his home on Audubon Circle near Brandon as deputies were attempting to arrest him for allegedly trying to rape a woman who lives down the street from him, Rankin County Sheriff Ronnie Pennington said.

Pennington said deputies were responding to a call from a woman who said her nieghbor was exposing himself and trying to force his way into her home. She ran to a nearby house with her child. When deputies arrived, according to the sheriff, the man started fighting with them and they used the taser gun on him. A third deputy had to be called in to subdue the 50 year old man. He has not been identified pending notification of next of kin.

The man had been involved in a serious accident and walked with a cane.

I'm sure the medical examiners will rule that the death was not taser related. I can't say as I blame them. This article describes some of the things medical examiners face when examining a tased victim. Among them include: a) having their paychecks and employment under the control of the law enforcement agency responsible for the tasing and b) potential legal bullying from Taser International.

Another death that followed multiple tasings has been ruled a homicide. The medical examiners didn't list tasing as a cause of death, but again, how independent can a medical examiner be in these cases? Not everyone can afford to put their careers in jeopardy.

More on the death of Jesse Saenz:

RATON The state Office of the Medical Investigator has classified as a homicide the death of a man placed face down in a police car with his legs shackled and bent behind him.

Jesse Saenz, 23, was taken to the Colfax County Detention Center in the Raton squad car last Nov. 18 with an officer sitting on his lower back.

The means used to restrain him and the position of his body impaired his breathing abilities, heightened the effect of drugs in his system and contributed significantly to his death, according to the OMI's recently completed autopsy.

Shortly before the cruiser pulled up at the jail, Saenz's body convulsed and he went limp. Efforts to resuscitate him failed, and he was pronounced dead on arrival at a Raton hospital.

The autopsy, conducted by Dr. Jeffrey S. Nine, found high levels of cocaine and the presence of marijuana in Saenz's bloodstream.

State police, who are investigating the incident, have said they were not sure how the autopsy report will affect their investigation.

A preliminary state police report in December found that Tasers were fired 23 times while officers tried to subdue Saenz. The OMI, which earlier found that Tasers hit Saenz three times, said Tasers likely did not cause his death.

The autopsy found abrasions on Saenz's neck and chest and a puncture wound in the left side of his abdomen with a metal Taser tip beneath his skin. Medical investigators did not refer to the Taser's electronic shocks when discussing what killed Saenz.

The two Raton police officers on the scene told state police they believe their Tasers malfunctioned. The Tasers have been confiscated.