Sunday, December 21, 2008

Taser Death Update: Family States Man Was Restrained When Tased

(See Another Death After Taser Use)

[UPDATE from the San Jose (CA) Mercury News]
The family of the man who died after being "tased" multiple times by a Campbell Police officer in San Jose, California states that the man was not resisting and was handcuffed "under" multiple officers from the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office and other departments.

The family of a man who died Friday after repeated Taser jolts dispute police accounts and say he already was pinned under several deputies, handcuffed and not fighting back when another officer used his stun gun.

Rather than the "strenuous, intense physical altercation" that police described, the family of 26-year-old Edwin Rodriguez said he was confused but not combative with officers that night. They also said Rodriguez suffered from schizophrenia, a chronic mental illness that can cause hallucinations.

"He wasn't violent at any point," said Emilia Centeno, 35, a cousin whose brother and mother witnessed the incident. They have cell-phone photos showing several officers on top of Rodriguez that they say they took before the officer used the Taser.

"That is what we don't understand. Why would you use it on him more than one time when there were so many officers already on top of him and he couldn't move and wasn't fighting back?"

The Campbell Police Department tells a different story.
But Capt. David Dehaan of the Campbell Police Department, which employs Gary Berg, the officer who fired the Taser, insists Rodriguez was still struggling and was not handcuffed when Berg used the stun gun.
The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident. Edwin Rodriguez suffered from mental illness and had himself called for help twice that day when he thought his meds were not working. Officers responding to the second visit suggested Rodriguez see a doctor. Rodriguez and family members took their advice and proceeded to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

But when they got there, he did not want to leave the car. When Centeno's brother, Dennis Centeno Jr., tried to coax him out, Rodriguez became testy. Someone at the hospital suggested that the family summon police for help, Centeno said.

Deputy sheriffs arrived shortly after 11:20 p.m. Rodriguez was hugging his mother at the time, relatives said, while Dennis Centeno Jr. warned them that he did not speak English and, pointing to his head, "is not all there."

Relatives said Rodriguez began walking away from officers, who demanded in English that he get on the ground while his cousin attempted to translate. Moments later, relatives said, five or more officers pinned Rodriguez to the ground — face down. Some knelt on his back, they said, and others punched and kicked him.

Dehaan said officer Berg noticed the struggle and offered to assist with his Taser. The deputies, who do not carry the stun guns, accepted the offer, Dehaan said. Berg pressed the device against Rodriguez's lower back and discharged it "multiple times," Dehaan said. At one point, the deputies had hold of one of Rodriguez's arms, but otherwise his hands were free and uncuffed, and he was pushing up off the ground, Dehaan said.

The family saw it differently. They say Rodriguez was "handcuffed, pinned and not resisting when the officer used the stun gun at least four times."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please keep it clean and NO SPAM!