Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Another Dead, Tased Teen

A 15-year-old, 5-foot-6, 140-pound boy is dead after being tased:

Eugene E. Elder Sr. figures police killed his teenage son unjustifiably with a Taser, and he plans to fire back with a lawsuit.

"I'm going after the city. I don't care," said Elder, 55, of Bay City. "There's no reason for killing my boy. He didn't do nothing wrong."

Elder conceded his son - Brett L. Elder - had been drinking alcohol Saturday night before police subdued him early Sunday morning with a Taser following a disturbance in a Bay City apartment.

But relatives said 15-year-old Brett "Dewey" Elder stood 5-foot-6 and weighed about 140 pounds. They said he was no match for three Bay City Police Department officers who encountered him in the sitting room of Cindy Hernden's apartment at 210 S. Catherine St.

"I believe they killed him," said Hernden, 40, a close friend of the Elder family.

"I believe his heart couldn't handle it," Hernden added. "I just figured that Taser was too strong for that small of a kid. He's tiny, and there were three grown police officers.

"They could have subdued him without handcuffs, but they handcuffed him and then Tasered him."

Bay City Deputy Police Chief Thomas P. Pletzke denied Hernden's allegation, saying Brett Elder wasn't in handcuffs when an officer deployed the Taser.

Pletzke declined comment when asked if Bay City officers should share any blame for Elder's death. Pletzke didn't identify the officer who used the Taser, but said the department has placed him on administrative leave. ...

Pletzke said police were summoned to the scene to quell a reported fight.

Hernden said police managed to calm Brett Elder - temporarily.

"The officers had calmed Brett down and he was sitting on a couch, and then one officer said something to him, and Brett stood up like he was maybe going to lunge at the police," Hernden said.

"And right then and there is when they put the handcuffs on him. They knocked him on the ground and that's when they Tasered him."

Hernden said Brett Elder vomited "immediately" after police used the Taser.

"I told the police 'He's not breathing, he's not breathing,' and I told them I know (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), and one of the officers told me to shut up," Hernden said.

"They told me to stand back and wait for a medical professional to arrive, so that's what I did."

Hernden said Brett Elder wasn't armed when he moved toward the officers inside her apartment's sitting room.

It also appears that Elder was struck in the chest with the taser (h/t TNT):

At 3:53 an officer deployed his Taser. Elder was struck once in the chest.

Elder had a reaction at the same time, which included vomiting.

Police say an ambulance was called, and Elder was turned on his side to prevent choking.

Medical aid was then given when paramedics arrived.

Elder was then taken to Bay Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Police say Elder wasn't cuffed when tased, witnesses say he was. Either way, he's dead and an all too familiar sequence occurred: suspect tased, suspect died.