September 7, 2010

District Attorney Still Considers Criminal Charges in DeKalb County Taser Deaths

The Internal Review Board cleared the unidentified officers involved in the taser-related deaths of Audrecas Davis and Sukeba Jackson-Olawunmi.

Prosecutors are still reviewing the cases to determine if criminal charges will be filed agains the officers.

Davis' family is reviewing the reports and trying to determine whether they should file a lawsuit.

The board, which is made up of investigators, reviewed the evidence and voted unanimously to clear all of the officers involved. The board voted that no policies or procedures were violated, and there were no safety concerns in either incident, according to the report. [SOURCE]

"As chief of police, I stand behind the use of the Taser as an alternative to deadly force. While both of these incidents were extremely unfortunate in that they resulted in death, I know my officers followed the proper protocols," Chief William O'Brien said.
Villagers recall that the DeKalb medical examiner ruled the deaths of Davis and Jackson-Olawunmi as homicides. Both died in separate incidents in May after being repeatedly tased by DeKalb officers. Police said both were combative and failed to comply with officers' commands during the incidents.

Autopsies found that Davis and Jackson-Olawunmi were under the influence of drugs and had prior medical conditions, including obesity, medical examiner Pat Bailey said.

Davis, 29, died May 10 from cardiorespiratory arrest and had caffeine, nicotine and chemicals found in marijuana in his system. He also suffered from hypertension and sickle cell disease, according to the medical examiner.

Jackson-Olawunmi, 40, died May 15 of a cocaine-induced delirium, the medical examiner said. In addition to cocaine, she had blood pressure medication in her system to treat her hypertension.

Both of these people would be alive today if not for the repeated jolts of taser voltage into their bodies.


Gunfighter said...

"Both of these people would be alive today if not for the repeated jolts of taser voltage into their bodies."

Which doesn't mean that the police were wrong in using their tasers.

Chris M said...

@Gunfighter -

"Which doesn't mean that the police were wrong in using their tasers."

It is possible that the officers where entirely in compliance with the established procedures, force continuum, and use of force rules at that particular police department.

This does not mean that the policies themselves are not flawed.

Really, there is no place for these things. If it is a dangerous situation but isn't quite lethal, use the baton or pepper spray.

If it is a lethal situation, use the gun.

Here's a suggestion for a blog post:

Compare the lethality of pepper spray to the lethality of tasers, the thesis being that there is a fuzzy threshold that, when crossed, ought to push one device into the lethal category. Argue that tasers are significantly more lethal than pepper spray.

Here's another one: tasers can cause people with heart problems to have heart failure. Older people frequently have heart problems. Why isn't there a blanket rule about elderly people being tased?