“It's clear he's advancing on the officer,” Goodenow told the Observer. “The officer was justified in using the Taser – which he had been trained was non-deadly force – to control the situation. Unfortunately, it had very tragic results.”
Goodenow said the 17-year old Turner was shocked more than once. Yet the prosecutor claims, "The officer used the appropriate force."
A Taser is a weapon that uses compressed nitrogen to shoot two tethered needle-like probes that deliver an electronic shock. It's designed to temporarily subdue a person, although one study found that the improper use of Tasers has contributed to the death of at least 11 people in North Carolina over the past four years.
Turner's autopsy shows that he died from cardiac arrest. Family attorney Ken Harris said he's still reviewing evidence collected from Food Lion and police. However, he was quick to note that Turner had no intoxicants in his body and that the Taser specifically played a role in his death – a fact rarely mentioned in Taser-related deaths across the country, Harris said.
Co-workers, including a supervisor, said Turner was a reliable employee who had never been reprimanded at work. They said he had some disagreements with the customer service manager, who had asked him to tuck in his shirt and complained about Turner wearing gold teeth and big earrings.
Goodenow said Monday that when Turner returned to the grocery after lunch, a supervisor told him to remove the sucker from his mouth and tuck in his shirt. The teenager began cursing, the prosecutor said. The supervisor, a white woman, called the store manager to report what was happening. She said Turner was cursing and angry, and told the manager she felt threatened and was going to call police.
After the manager arrived, Turner began taunting him to get him to fight, Goodenow said. He threw a plastic counter-top display at the manager, she said, then picked up an umbrella and threw that at the manager. Then he advanced on the manager who was behind the customer service desk.
Goodenow said a witness recalled the police officer, who had witnessed at least part of the confrontation with the manager, yelling: “Freeze. Don't move. Stay where you are.” Turner then began walking toward the officer, who had already pulled his Taser. When Turner was a few feet from Dawson, the officer fired the Taser.
Goodenow said Turner's body stiffened after being shocked, but the teen kept walking. When Turner got to the front of the store he tossed a metal grocery bag holder, she said. It's unclear when the officer fired again or how long the shock lasted.
“He gave the officer a look like he was going to break him in half…,” the manager told police. “I don't know what was bothering him, but he was not himself. The officer told him he needed to stop. And that's the last warning you're going to get. And he just kept on going.”
Villagers, my view remains the same as before. Turner didn't have a weapon. He was just an angry teenager. I suspect that the Food Lion supervisor, Food Lion manager and Officer Jerry Dawson simply over-reacted to the situation because of their pre-conceived fear of 'the angry black man'. They saw a monster and they killed him. I see a 17-year old high school graduate working hard and planning for a future that was snuffed out by taser-happy cop. Personally, I hope that a civil suit puts a big hole in the taser budget of the Charlotte police department.