April 14, 2009

Robert Mitchell's Mom Tries to Find Forgiveness for Taser-Killing Cops

The mother of the teenager who died last week after he was struck by a Taser said she is trying to find forgiveness in her heart for the Warren officers involved. [SOURCE]

Cora Mitchell said her 16-year-old son, Robert Mitchell, was a special education student who probably panicked when police pulled over a car driven by his friend Friday and he jumped out of the car and ran.

"These police officers have just flipped the tables on not only me and my family, but their wives and children as well," she said while standing on the porch of her home in northeast Detroit as a steady stream of friends and relatives stopped by.

"I am a Christian woman and in my heart I'm trying to find forgiveness for them because they're going to have to live with this for the rest of their lives — forever," she said.
Robert Mitchell was a front-seat passenger in a 1996 Dodge Stratus that was stopped by police for an expired license plate. When the driver pulled over, Mitchell bolted from the vehicle and ran across all four lanes of Eight Mile into Detroit. He was eventually confronted at a vacant house on Pelkey in Detroit where pursuing Warren officers fired a Taser at him once.

Mitchell fell to the ground and became unconscious. He was treated at the scene by emergency personnel and later died at Henry Ford Hospital, Warren Campus.

It's not known why Mitchell ran from the officers. He did not have a warrant out for his arrest and was not carrying any contraband.

"We spoke with the driver and he said Robert admitted he was going to exit and flee," said Detective Lt. Michael Torey of the Warren police. "The driver inquired why he was going to run and there was no response."

An autopsy conducted on Saturday was inconclusive but there were no signs of outer trauma to the body, officials said. Macomb County Medical Examiner Dr. Daniel Spitz said he is waiting for the results of toxicology tests before a cause of death is determined.

The two unnamed officers involved in the Taser incident had been placed on administrative leave over the weekend, but returned to duty as police administrators determined they used appropriate force because Mitchell physically confronted them after the chase.

Cora Mitchell said she believes officers may need more training with the weapon that may have killed her son.
"Gas by itself is not dangerous but when used improperly, gas could blow up the whole block," she said. "This was a kid who posed no danger to anyone. I was told at the hospital that he had his hands up to surrender when he was hit."
One of eight children, Robert Mitchell was a student at Kettering High School but had hoped to transfer to a school district in neighboring Warren. His mother said he loved bowling, and old school movies and video games.
"I have had car trouble and I'm going to school to become a medical assistant and he'd sometimes walk me to school," Cora Mitchell recalled. "He was a good boy who loved his church. We have a big family, so he was good with the other kids. We always had a team of boys ready to bowl or whatever."
Funeral arrangements for Robert Mitchell are being directed by Fisher Funeral Home in Redford. Donations to help the family pay for funeral services may be addressed to the Robert Mitchell Memorial Fund at any Fifth Third Bank branch.

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