June 13, 2010

Taser Death: William Owens (Homewood, AL)

Teenagers that break into cars should be arrested. They should be tried and sent to jail for their crimes. Teenagers that break into cars should not be electrocuted by their arresting officers. Someone forgot to give the memo to an unidentified Homewood (AL) police officer. This officer pumped 50,000 volts of electricity from his taser gun into the body of 17-year old William Owens when he tried to flee. [SOURCE]

"After a continued struggle the officer handcuffed the suspect who for unknown reasons became unconscious and collapsed. Homewood fire and rescue transported the suspect to UAB where he never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead," said Homewood Police Lieutenant Ken Atkinson.

William's cousin Erica Owens says she lost her grandmother the day before William passed away and now she wants answers about his untimely death.

"We want to know what happened to him. We really don't know what happened to him. We just know that he got tased and now he's dead and the police won't tell us nothing," said Erica Owens.
Herzing University President Donald Lewis says the campus was closed at the time, but people sometimes use their parking lot after hours. Lewis says it is not a high crime area and describes the event as highly unusual.

Homewood police confirm that an officer has been placed on paid administrative leave as the Alabama Bureau of Investigation and the Jefferson County Coroner's Office investigate the incident and the cause of death.

"It would be both premature and unreasonable for this department to answer or attempt to answer any questions, respond to any comments, or speculation in order to allow this investigation to be completed. To do otherwise would pose a substantial possibility of confusing or delaying independent and objective analysis of this incident and would be grossly unfair to all parties involved," said Lt. Ken Atkinson.

Of course, the police were not above trying to cover their asses. Several hours after they killed William Owens, police arrived at Owens' home to tell his mother he was dead. Before doing so, the family said police officers asked whether Owens had any health problems including high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease.

"She told them he had just left the doctor and nothing was wrong with him," Erica Owens said.

A lawyer for the family is calling for a grand jury investigation into the death.

"The Homewood police killed this kid. They Tased him to death," said attorney Byron Perkins. "There's no reason in the world that this 17-year-old kid should be dead."

Please let us know if you have any additional details about this taser-related death.


We are a team of writers, journalists and analysts from three continents, said...

Hi Wayne, stopping by again today. Even as I have the village in the blogroll of my blog (attentionandrespect.blogspot.com)as well as on my reader, and I read the articles right when they arrive, I am very much interested in why you have such a strong concern about the taser-cases. No question at all that it is absolutely terrible that they do happen at all ( and over here in Germany we have no idea because we haven't heart of it so far in our media). I would like to write about it in my blog, maybe you can tell me where to get more information (since when, why, where...)besides your articles which I apprechiate very much. One more thing: Have a nice Fathersday with your beautiful 3!!!
Love and peace

Villager said...

Etta - Thank you for your support of this blog.

re: taser-related deaths - My interest has grown over time. I followed one or two cases before I became aware of how often these taser killings were taking place (about once per week) in America. There is a blog in Canada that had been tracking North America taser incidents since 2006 or so. I decided to do the same on my blog ... with a focus on deaths in USA.

I thought that the tasers were being used more on Black people ... and that is true.

For what it's worth, I use Google Alerts (www.google.com/alerts) with search terms, "taser, death, police".

Gunfighter said...

If that kid wouldn't have been breaking into a car, he wouldn't have been confronted by the cops. If he hadn't run, he wouldn't have been tased.

Don't blame the cop, in absence of incriminating evidence, for doing exactly what he should have done... unless you think that he should have chased the kid, and fought him into handcuffs by the use of his baton.

Francis L. Holland said...

In this case, shooting the kid with an electrocution device had the same effect as shooting him in the back.

I haven't read any proof that the young man was trying to break into a car, but I would certainly like to know what proof exists.

In addition, I don't think taser electrocution devices work from a distance, and so I think that, if the kid was trying to steal from a car and was trying to get away, the the officer "should have chased the kid, and fought him into handcuffs by the use of his baton." If the officer has proceeded that way, as police did before tasers became the electrocution rage, the the young man would not have been electrocuted and executed for alleged petty theft or car theft.

This case is no different from the "shot in the back" cases that started riots across America during the 1960's and 1970's.