November 12, 2009
Police Refuse to Take Responsibility in Taser-Killing of Rory McKenzie
We told you a few days ago that the Kern County coroner ruled 'homicide' in the taser-related death of Rory McKenzie. The Kern County Sheriff's Office didn't like the negative publicity from the coroner's decision. So, the Sheriff's Office convened a group this past Monday to review the case. After a quick review, the Sheriff's Office announced that the four officers involved in the taser-killing operated "within department policy".
You may recall that these four police officers attempted to take McKenzie into custody on July 2, 2009. He physically resisted arrest. During the struggle, a deputy deployed a Taser as McKenzie continued to physically resist arrest. A Kern County Sheriff’s Office K-9 was utilized and McKenzie was bitten on the right leg, allowing deputies to take him into custody.
After McKenzie was taken into custody, deputies noticed he was having difficulty breathing and called for medical aid. McKenzie stopped breathing and deputies administered CPR. McKenzie was transported by ambulance to Kern Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
The four officers are Sergeant Otis Whinery (24 years with the Sheriff's Office), Senior Deputy Alan Fullerton (21 years with the Sheriff's Office), Deputy Douglas Jauch (8 years with the Sheriff's Office), Deputy Patrick McNeal (5 years with the Sheriff's Office) and Deputy Edward Tucker (12 years with the Sheriff's Office).
The penalty for resisting arrest should not be death ... and it should not be "within department policy". I hope that the Kern County District Attorney files criminal charges in this case.
In the meantime, I encourage all villagers to see if they can get a copy of the 'use of force continuum' policy from their local police department. We may need to deal with this issue on a local level. What say u?