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Man Dies After Police Taser Shock

Washington Post via YellowBrix

April 30, 2010

ARLINGTON, VA – An Arlington man who was apparently in psychiatric distress died early Friday after a police officer used a Taser in an attempt to subdue him, police said.

It was the second death in an incident involving a Taser in the county this year.

Lt. William Griffith, an Arlington County police spokesman, said officers and medics were called to an apartment building in the 5500 block of Columbia Pike about 12:30 a.m. for a “psychiatric emergency.”

They found a man who was “unclothed and uncooperative . . . He refused all verbal commands and was combative with the officers attempting to assist him,” Griffith said.

A few minutes after an officer deployed a Taser device to try and bring the man under control, Griffith said, police saw that the man did not appear to be breathing. Medics began trying to resuscitate him, and transported him to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The man’s name and age were not immediately available. Police said he did not live in the apartment, but was visiting family there. It was a relative who called police after the man became distressed, Griffith said.

Both the internal affairs division and the homicide/robbery division are investigating the incident, Griffith said. Detectives remained at the scene of the apartment for several hours overnight, taking photographs and collecting evidence.

The officer who deployed the Taser remains on active duty, but could be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation if the man’s death is determined to have been caused by the Taser.

The incident was the fourth time this year that Arlington police have deployed Tasers, which administer an electric jolt and are designed to be safer than firearms. Two of those confrontations did not involve death or injury, Griffith said.

But on Jan. 17, a 36-year-old District man died after being Tasered during a confrontation with police on the Pentagon City Metro platform.

William R. Bumbrey III allegedly became aggressive when an officer approached him on the Metro platform to question him about a recent theft from a nearby pharmacy, police said. After the officer used his Taser, Bumbrey continued to struggle, police said at the time, but eventually was restrained and handcuffed. ad_icon

Soon after, officers saw that Bumbrey was in medical distress. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.

At the time, Detective Crystal Nosal, a county police spokeswoman, said Tasers have been in the department’s arsenal since 2004. Nosal said police officers receive special training on use of the devices. Tasers are used in the county, on average, fewer than 20 times each year.

  • Pug_max600_max50


    over 4 years ago


    It's always a difficult call for LE to make. Still questions as there are safe and less safe ways to deploy a Taser. Always regrets when a unstable person dies in a less than lethal confrontation.

  • Me_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Ok I see it like this......If the man wouldnt comply to the Officer's request then by all means do what needs to be done to contain the suspect for your safety and others. Im sorry for the familys loss but the law is the law.

  • Ba_old_glory_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

  • Untitledma28839986-0002_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Well said ilegworldchamp.

  • Steve_mcqueen_max50


    over 4 years ago


    The Police can't win no matter what. What ever means used to subdue a subject , physical restraint , taser , baton , pepper spray , bean bag , you name , the cop is always wrong in the eyes of the "RABEL ROUSING ANTI-POLICE FLAMING LIBERALS".

  • Draped_badge_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Doean't matter the officer was correct in using the taser....These things happen, it was a less than leathal force device deployed under the proper conditions. Just like these young recruits dieing of heart attacks in the academy or young officers dieing in foot pursuits, we don't know what their heart looks like from the outside...All it takes is someone with an arrhythmia to be zapped at the wrong time and this is what happens...It's undortunate that it happened but it is a risk that is used with anyt less than lethal device the police use, but since the police deployed the taser it automatically looks bad...The end result without the taser would likely have been the same they would have fought him, called in backup and more piled on, eventually he would have been brought under control and probably had a heart attack at some point but also an officer or two may have been hurt or killed in the process...We are not put out there as punching bags, we are put out there to protect the citizens and we are given and trained in the use of the less-than-lethal weapons and things happens sometimes...Being a cop or being a bad guy has an implied risk that someone may die in the process. They never make a big deal when a cop dies though, just the bad guys.

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