September 20, 2010

Taser Autopsy: Coroner Rules 'Homicide' in Death of Andrew Torres

The Greenville County coroner's office said that the death of 39-year old Andrew Torres was a homicide. On Aug. 9, two Greenville police officers went to the home of Andrew Torres to serve him with involuntary commitment papers when police said he became combative. Officers said they eventually were forced to kill Torres with their taser guns. Torres was electrocuted with multiple taser attacks, was winded after officers subdued him and became unresponsive about 10 minutes later.
Andrew Torres died from a cardiac arrhythmia as a result of having an enlarged heart, the use of Tasers and the physical strain of tussling with police, Coroner Park Evans said. [see VIDEO]

Evans said Tuesday that the use of Tasers "certainly would have added to the stress and strain he was under that brought on the lethal event." Another factor was a physical altercation in which Torres wrestled with police as they tried to take him to the hospital for evaluation.

"One (of those things) in itself would probably not be a cause for his demise, but when the combination came together it caused his death," said Evans.
The findings have been forwarded to the State Law Enforcement Division and the solicitor's office to decide if charges will be filed against the officers, Dale Dirton, Kevin Hill and Eric Koepke. The officers involved have been on administrative leave since Torres' death.

Andrew Torres' brother, Frank, says that his sisters heard an officer tell emergency medical personnel that their brother was stunned six times.

Family members have said in a written statement that doctors struggled to find the right medicine for Andrew Torres, and that it was sometimes necessary to have him involuntarily committed.

Three officers charged his door to force it open, and one of them reached inside to "blindly" stun him with a Taser, sending Torres into a panic, family members have said.

Family members said they don't hold anything against the officers, but that using force caused the situation to escalate unnecessarily.

Frank Torres said the family wants more training for officers, citing an almost identical previous situation in which 45 minutes of negotiation helped de-escalate the confrontation.

Greenville police are getting new training on dealing with the mentally ill after the death of a man stunned by officers with Tasers. Chief Terri Wilfong told multiple media outlets Wednesday that her officers will get up to 40 hours of crisis intervention training. [SOURCE]


Gunfighter said...

Did the officers say they were forced to kill Torres? or did they say that they were forced to use force or their tasers?

Unknown said...

Gunfighter - Truth to tell ... I'm not sure which way the police described it.

Unknown said...

Glad to see that the powers-that-be decided to settle the wrongful death lawsuit in this case.