August 15, 2009

Taser Death: Johnathan Michael Nelson (Riverside County, CA)

27-year-old inmate Jonathan Michael Nelson died last month after deputies had used a Taser on him for the second time within 24 hours. [SOURCE]

Nelson had been arrested on suspicion of resisting an officer. According to the police, when deputies arrived and contacted Nelson, he tried to run, and deputies quickly chased him down, tackled him and shocked him with a Taser.

Nelson was taken to Hemet Valley Medical Center and later released for booking at the Southwest Detention Center in French Valley. Nelson was placed in a holding cell but when he tried to harm himself early Thursday by hitting the cell door and banging his head, deputies moved him to a padded "safety" cell, according to police.

As deputies left the cell, Nelson became aggressive toward them and grabbed the leg of one, Lujan said. Deputies restrained him and shocked him with a Taser, according to police.

Nelson "became nonresponsive" and first aid was administered, a sheriff's news release said. He was taken by ambulance to Rancho Springs Community Hospital in Murrieta where he was pronounced dead at 3:15 am on July 30, 2009.

Deputies said Nelson's behavior had been "bizarre," as if he were on drugs or had a mental problem, Lujan said. But investigators will not know if drugs were involved until they receive the results of toxicology tests.

Reached by phone at Nelson's Rancho Cucamonga home Friday, his godmother, Helen Baca, said the family had little information about what happened and did not know what Nelson was doing in Sage.

"It's an awful lot to process," Baca said. "This is a devastating loss."
Baca said family members learned Nelson had been arrested and his 19-year-old brother went to an animal shelter to pick up his dog, which was with Nelson when he was taken into custody. Coroner's officials notified him at the animal shelter that his brother had died, Baca said.

Baca said Nelson was employed as a truck driver but was off work that day. Baca said she was unaware of any medical problems that he might have had and said that while he had used drugs in the past, she had no reason to think he still did.

Nelson was a big man -- 6-foot-2, 340 pounds, according to booking information.

"He is a gentle giant," said his mother, Charlene Nelson. "He's a big guy, but he's kind. He's got a big heart."

Nelson said she doubts deputies' claims that he was being violent.

"I just don't believe it," she said. "I think they're trying to cover something."

1 comment:

C Nelson said...

Jonathan was actually tased 14 times in an 8 hour period. The mark on his face was actually a taser dart injury. All officers were disposed by my attorneys and all were caught in their lies. My sons death ruled homicide. My heart continues to ache and can't believe we must go on without our children. Dr Lee physiology professor at Cal State San Francisco has been involved with the affects of taser shots and the claims of the manufacture on the human body. Someday there will be a class action against taser injuries and deaths. My family will be there.