June 17, 2009

Autopsy Report: Taser Contributed to Death of Robert Mitchell

We had some movement in the death-by-Taser case of 16-year old Robert Mitchell. Villagers may recall that this was the 5'2" teenager chased into a vacant house by Warren (MI) police officers a couple of months ago. The youngster was unarmed. The police decided to pump Robert Mitchell with 50,000 volts of pure electricity instead of following the 'Use of Force Continuum' policy to gain custody of this diminutive teenager.

The medical examiner says that a heart condition most likely aggravated by the use of a Taser caused Mitchell's death. Mitchell is one of 22 people dead-by-Taser so far this year in America.

The manner of death for 110-pound Robert Mitchell is listed as "indeterminate" in a 10-page autopsy report completed by forensic pathologist Cheryl L. Loewe and signed May 28 by Macomb County Chief Medical Examiner Daniel Spitz. [SOURCE]

"The heart condition is the immediate cause of death," said Loewe. "Certainly, we cannot ignore the time relationship when Robert was Tasered and then found unresponsive and went into arrhythmia, coupled with the fact that Taser probes were applied over the chest.

"In a healthy adult, it's unlikely an arrhythmia may have been precipitated by a Taser. This is a unique case because of the underlying heart disease
Of course the Warren Police Department has already moved on. The taser-wielding officer had a 3-day weekend after the killing. There is no further effort to punish the man who killed this young Black child.

Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer said "We do support the officer that used the Taser. It was justified, there had been an internal investigation conducted," Dwyer said. "The (Macomb County) prosecutor's office also ruled he's exonerated. The prosecutor agrees with us -- it was justified."
Mitchell's mother, Cora Renea Mitchell, who also picked up the autopsy report, said she's hoping the information will bring answers and closure to her family.

"Today is a new day," she said. "I want to go over it and really see what I find."
The autopsy said Mitchell suffered two Taser probe-related injuries -- above and below the nipple -- on the left side of his chest. The autopsy didn't reveal any other signs of injury to Mitchell's body.

"We know the Taser contributed to his demise. We want justice," Mitchell's grandmother, Charlotte McGlory, said this morning. "We want them (police) charged with first-degree murder and prosecuted."
The police had this child under control. They were patting him down. The youngster is small (5'2") and doesn't weigh much (110 pounds). These are factors that the district attorney will need to consider as decision to file charges against the Warren police officer are made. What possible justification can there be to kill this kid with a taser?


ailtonjunior said...

What a load of crap! They fire an electrocution device at his heart and the cause of his heart stopping is "indeterminate"? I'll bet they would say the same thing if it was a gunshot wound!

"The average adult would not die from a mere gunshot wound to the chest!"

This crap about calling the cause of death "indeterminate" is a cover-up for police, to put a barrier in the way of criminal prosecution and civil claims.

As Pandagon reported last year:

"A Summit County [Ohio] Common Pleas judge ordered the county medical examiner to delete any reference that Tasers contributed to the deaths of three Ohio men."

Who is more qualified to say what should be in an autopsy report: a medical examiner who did the autopsy or a judge covering the tracks of the police department?

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

The above comment is from Francis L. Holland accidentally writing with my friend's blogger account signed in.

Villager said...

Francis - I tend to agree with you. I was disappointed by the findings. I'm very interested to see what, if anything, the district attorney will say about criminal charges against the taser-cop on the Warren (MI) police force. However, since he has already been exonerated by the police chief ...it appears that there is no recourse except in civil court for the Mitchell family.