October 14, 2010

Taser Death: Kareem Ali (Silver Spring, MD)

It happened again. This time the taser-happy Montgomery (MD) police department couldn't figure out any alternative to putting 50,000 volts of electricity into the body of 65-year old Kareem Ali.

Evidently, Ali resisted arrest by Officer Susanna Stanley and Officer James Walsh. So Walsh and Stanley used pepper spray and a taser gun to subdue the unarmed senior citizen.

Was Ali a major criminal menace? Nope. The old guy was found sleeping in a stairwell.

Ali never had much of a chance to tell his side of the story. He was in critical condition at Holy Cross Hospital since the police electrocuted him. He died early this morning.

Both officers involved, Susanna Stanley (3-years on the force) and James Walsh (2-years on the force), have been put on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the internal investigation.

Here is what the police say happened [SOURCE]:

A county officer arrived to the 11400 block of Lockwood Drive in Silver Spring at approximately 7:33 p.m. Sunday to find Ali lying unresponsive in the stairwell. After repeated attempts to get Ali's attention failed, the officer decided to attempt to move the man out of the stairwell, Starks said.

"He was acting odd, and that was from the citizens at the scene who called us," Starks said of Ali, adding the resident who first called police indicated Ali may have been on drugs or was otherwise afflicted. "In an attempt to get him out of the stairwell and get him outside where it isn't as confining, the officer grabbed onto his arm, which is when he began resisting."

Witnessing the struggle, another apartment resident called 911 and informed the operator the officer, who was alone at the scene, appeared to be in trouble. A second officer quickly arrived, but Ali continued to resist attempts to move him to an area outside, Starks said, adding Ali was only subdued when the officers engaged him with pepper spray followed by a brief "drive stun" from a hand-held Taser gun.

"With that, he was able to be cuffed, then, as is our protocol, we called fire rescue, because he had been exposed to OC spray," Starks said.

Medical personnel arrived and washed the spray off Ali, Starks said, adding "They examined and treated him, then left."

But emergency medical personnel were quickly called back to the scene when Ali apparently lost consciousness minutes later in the back of a police transport van, Starks said. Ali was rushed to Holy Cross, according to hospital staff and police.

This taser-related death is wrong on so many levels
  1. If the police rolling to the scene were told by the 911-caller that Ali was on drugs ... why would they use their taser. Aren't they taught *not* to taser people suspected of being on drugs?
  2. The guy was unarmed
  3. The guy was asleep
  4. The guy was 65-years old
There were at least three law enforcement officers on the scene. They are not able to resolve this type of situation without extra-judicial electrocution?

Anyhow, villagers, please let us know if you have any additional information or insights to share about this taser-related death

1 comment:

Wayne Hicks said...

Montgomery County (MD) and the family of Kareem Ali reached a $450,000 settlement in their wrongful death lawsuit.