June 4, 2010

Taser Death: Jose Martinez (Waukegan, IL)

An unidentified Waukegan police officer electrocuted 53-year Jose Martinez on May 29 for no good reason. Martinez was unarmed. Martinez was not threatening himself or others. The unidentified police officer simply didn't think that the life of Martinez was worth taking the time to do something other than pull a taser gun and jolt 50,000 volts of electricity into his body. [SOURCE]

Details remain sketchy on the circumstances surrounding the taser-related death of Jose Martinez. It is possible that Martinez was targeted by mistake.

The details we know are simple. Jose Martinez, the father of three grown sons, was over 6 feet tall and weighed about 250 pounds. A graduate of Waukegan High School, he served in the Marine Corps from 1975 to 1977. The unidentified Waukegan police officer pulled his taser gun and used it. Martinez stopped breathing and was taken to Vista Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Lake County Coroner (and blogger) Dr. Richard Keller is trying to pull a fast one on the public. The initial autopsy report says that Martinez suffered a cardiac arrest (in other words, his heart stopped pumping).

Dr. Keller knows that his heart attack would not have occurred this past weekend without 50,000 volts of electricity being shot thru his body by the police.   

"He did have a heart condition, demonstrated on autopsy," Keller said. "We listed cause of death as heart condition and tasering as a contributing factor to his death."
The cause of death should have been ruled HOMICIDE. Instead, we get this "cardiac arrest" bullshyt.   This is not the first time that Dr. Keller has been accused of unethical behavior.

Waukegan Police Chief Artis Yancey said the death is under investigation by the Lake County Major Crime Task Force and declined to elaborate. I suspect that Chief Yancey knows that his police officer did wrong and that is why you don't hear the usual comments from him about 'standing behind the officer 100%' or 'the officer followed all taser procedures'.  Of course, the fact that Yancey is known to sleep with the wives of his officers may be one reason he is keeping a low profile.

The powers-that-be in Waukegan rushed the autopsy and tried to cover-up the taser electrocution for a number of days. The wife of Mr. Martinez was not notified of his death for four (4) days.

Rick Martinez, the victim's brother, a U.S. Army helicopter pilot who lives outside of Atlanta, Ga., said Jose might have been misidentified by police, who were called to the store on a complaint of a disturbance by someone who was panhandling.

Armando Martinez, 58, of Waukegan, another brother of the victim and a former Waukegan police officer, said the woman who was clerking Saturday night told the family that it was a different man who was causing problems at the store. He said he heard that police chased Martinez in the parking lot, stopped him with a Taser, then couldn't revive him.

"I was devastated," said Martinez, who left the police force after he was stabbed breaking up a bar room fight about 20 years ago. "Until the task force releases its report, we won't know -- was use of a Taser justified. We will find out what happened, then we'll see what action the family wants to take," Martinez said.
I think that the police made a big mistake on this one. What say u?


C. Gimondo said...

We are seeking help in creating new legislation in the State of Illinois in Jose's name which would ban the use of tasers by law enforcement agencies...in experiencing this loss we have come to learn about so many other similar situations--it is time for action. If you would be interested in helping us gather signatures please send us a message with your name, address and phone number: cvgimondo@aol.com

Unknown said...

C. Gimondo - I'll send you my contact info. I'd like to be kept up-to-date on your efforts to change the law. Let me know how this blog can be of assistance.

Mercedes said...

Hi, I'm a reporter for a Chicago Latino publication. Would you please help me to get in contact of a member of the Martinez' family? I'm currently working in this story and my deadline is at 3 pm. today. Please call 312-527-8489. Thanks.

Unknown said...

Mercedes - Were you able to get info you needed for your article? If so, can the article be found online on the Internet?