August 21, 2009

Taser Death: Francisco Sesate (Mesa, AZ)

UPDATE (8/25/09): The taser victim identified as 36-year old Francisco P. Sesate.

It happened again! An unidentified man died after being tasered by Mesa police yesterday. This man is the 32nd person killed by police taser guns in America this year. These taser-related deaths seem to follow a pattern:

  1. Police arrive
  2. Someone disrespects the police
  3. Police taser the disrespectful person
  4. Taser victim dies while in police custody
  5. Police tell press about 'excited delirium'
  6. Police suggest that taser victim is on drugs
  7. Autopsy results take weeks to be shared with public

Anyhow, here is the story as told by The Arizona Republic:

A man who was Tasered by Mesa police Thursday after stripping naked and jumping on cars in a convenience store parking lot died eight hours after he was subdued.

The man, whose identity has not yet been released, lost consciousness as three officers tried to handcuff him after he fell to the ground from the shock of the Taser, said Steve Berry, a police spokesman.

The officers immediately uncuffed the man and started medical attention. He was revived sometime before arriving at a local hospital, but his condition continued to deteriorate throughout the day and he died at about 9 p.m.

The police department is investigating the incident and waiting on autopsy reports from the medical examiner, but officers do not think the Taser caused the death, Berry said.

Berry said it was possible that "excited delirium," a condition that occurs when the heart shuts down because it can't handle a stressful event, was the cause of death.

He also suggested that the man was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time.

"Taking the fact that it's in broad daylight and you've got basically a grown man stripping down naked and jumping on cars, it leads us to believe he may have been under influence of some drugs or narcotics at the time, but that's up to the medical examiner's office to look into," he said.
The incident started when an officer arrived at the convenience store, at Country Club Drive and Southern Avenue, and tried talking to the suspect, who was standing naked near the front of the store.

When a second officer arrived, the two tried to handcuff the man. He pushed one of the officers, prompting them to Taser him at least once.

The pair, joined by a third officer, struggled still to detain him and by the time they got the handcuffs on the man, he had stopped breathing, Berry said.

I must admit that I'm truly worried that the pace of these taser-related deaths is getting quicker. We are averaging a death each week. Some village voices indicate that a taser gun is a 'less lethal' weapon. However, the training provided by law enforcement officers through the Use of Force Continumm indicates that the taser is 'non-lethal'. In either case ... do we need to report the story of a taser death every week of the year?

Isn't it time for congressional hearings on this continued taser torture taking place in America?


Beekmo said...

In your post it indicates the 'pattern' with #2 as "someone disrespects the police." In this case I don't believe that applies as pushing a law enforcement officer amounts to more than simple disrespect. It is assault and a potential obstruction or interference with a police investigation and shows intent toward violence. Aggressive behavior like this can't be dismissed by simply calling it "someone disrespects the police". At the very least this is an error or is it a misrepresentation designed to harass and belittle the police?

Unknown said...

Beekmo - The guy was buck-naked. The police don't have any training to deal with a buck-naked guy short of killing him with their taser gun?