December 21, 2009

Taser Death: Michael Hawkins (Springfield MO)

Michael Hawkins, 39, hid in the crawl space of the Eagles Lodge Motel in Springfield MO on Sunday morning. Motel employees say that he didn't steal anything. Nobody seems to know why he was in the crawl space. We aren't able to ask Mr. Hawkins why he was in that space because the Springfield police decided to pump his body with 50,000 volts of taser gun electricity. Mr. Hawkins died shortly thereafter. [SOURCE]

A housecleaner noticed Hawkins go into a storage room. They asked him to come out ... he wouldn't.

So, staff called police.

After police arrived they found Hawkins hiding in a crawl space just above the storage room. Police attempted to talk Hawkins down, but he refused to leave the crawl space. Officers entered the crawl space, along with a police service dog. The dog bit Hawkins on the upper thigh. The dog fell through the floor and on to a balcony. However, the man was able to hang on and climbed back into a crawl space.

Police officers must have been getting impatient for their lunch break. Instead of waiting for Hawkins to come out of the crawl space on his own ... they made a command decision to pull out their taser guns and fire at the unarmed, defenseless man.

An ambulance picked up Hawkins to treat the dog bite.
"He walked over to the ambulance and got in [the vehicle]," said the victim's brother, Greg Hawkins.
Michael Hawkins died shortly after. His brother says he saw the body and the taser hit his brother near the heart. Greg Hawkins says Springfield police went too far while trying to arrest the man.
"I don't think police should have used that kind of force on him," said Michael's brother Greg. "Where was he going to go?".
It should be interesting to see the autopsy report in this taser-related death. It appears that the police use their taser guns as a weapon of convenience rather than in situations where they are in fear for their life. What is the point of having a use of force continuum policy if police in Springfield MO and elsewhere don't feel compelled to follow it?

Villagers, the penalty for refusing to come out of a crawl space in a hotel should not be death. Yet, here we are again ... for our weekly taser-related death in America.

When will the madness end?


Ron Davis said...

Here's a link to the pdf report on Michael Hawkins' post-mort exam:

Here is the report.

KSPR also has a story on Hawkins' family.

Unknown said...

Ron - I meant to tell you a few weeks ago ... THANK YOU ... for sharing the two links re: Mr. Hawkins' taser-related death.

Unknown said...

All - The City of Springfield is being sued by a couple from Polk County whose son died after police used an electric stun gun on him. Waldo and Neoima Hawkins seek $750,000.

Read the story here.