July 21, 2009

Another Taser Death in America - Charles Anthony Torrence (California)

Simi Valley police decided that they were tired of running after a suspect in a domestic dispute call over the past weekend. Charles Anthony Torrence, 35, was pronounced dead at Simi Valley Hospital on July 18, after a confrontation with Simi Valley officers near his home on Parker Court. [SOURCE]

Police say that they responded to a reported domestic dispute between Torrence and his girlfriend. During the incident the police fired a Taser stun gun and physically restrained him after he pulled a neighbor from her house, ran from officers and then fought with them. Relatives and Theresa Wheeler, the neighbor, said he was stunned at least six times.

Officer James Wismar, Senior Officer Charles Shorts and Officer Kathy Vigil are the three police officers involved in this taser-related killing. [SOURCE]

The police say that they don't know if the taser gun actually hit and shocked Torrence. The County Medical Examiner Dr. Ronald O’Halloran said an autopsy found “no clear evidence” that a Taser shot made contact with Torrence’s skin.

Relatives said Torrence complained about pain and breathing during the altercation, and that he was covered with cuts and bruises afterward. His mother, Charlotte Beard, and his girlfriend, Fatima Hammou, said officers had him on his stomach with their knees in his back.

No one at the home was arrested or cited in connection with the drugs.

Police said Torrence began experiencing “medical distress” after he was handcuffed.

A computer network engineer, Torrence had two children from a former marriage, an 8-year-old girl and 13-year-old boy, said his older brother, Chris Torrence. He sometimes worked as a disc jockey in the Los Angeles area, his brother said.

I’ve been getting a lot of texts from mutual friends with their shock and disbelief about what happened,” the brother said.
Villager Thoughts: There are two disturbing aspects of this story from my perspective. First, it is strange that the police can't tell if they hit Torrence with 50,000 volts of electricity from their taser guns. My gut tells me that if they knew he was *not* hit ... they would have said so. Second, I can see the writing on the wall with the references by the police to "medical distress" and "drugs on the premises". The fix is in for that "execited delirium" defense.

What say u?


Eddie G. Griffin said...

Thank you for informing us. Look for an email followup.

MacDaddy said...

The reason it's so important to us as African Americans. We're usually the ones who are tased. It's another way to kill black people, especially black men. Fortunately, many Americans from all parts of the country are beginning to question the use of tasers by police. We have to increase the pressure.

Villager said...

Eddie & MacDaddy - I'm committed to following these stories as they happen around the nation. The one thing I'm finding tough to do is get the race or national origin of these taser-related victims...

peace, Villager

Gunfighter said...

If the story is accurate, the deceased was involved in a physical confrontation, ran from and then fought the cops. So far it sounds like the use of the Taser was fully justified under the law.

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



Villager said...

Gunfighter - The fact that something is justified doesn't make it right. Running away from the police isn't punishable by the death penalty...

Karmina - I hope you come back and share insights with us...