October 7, 2010

Taser Death: Patrick Johnson (Philadelphia, PA) [VIDEO]

The police have a real difficulty dealing with mentally-challenged people. Unidentified Philadelphia police officers were called to the home where Patrick Johnson, a mentally-challenged teenage boy, was living the other day. When the police couldn't quickly deal with the situation as professionals they pulled out their 21st century version of a cattle prod ... their taser guns ... and electrocuted the young man twice. The second jolt of 50,000 volts of electricity into the youngsters body resulted in his death.

Patrick Johnson was a special education graduate with the mental capacity of a 5-year old according to those who knew him.

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/video.

The sad thing is that 18-year old Patrick Johnson called the police himself
. Account to the police this was a regular thing. Police say that they have been called to the home on 14 separate occassions due to the mental health issues of this youngster.
"He had problems, but he was a good kid. It should have never happened," said Steve Zielinski, Johnson's stepfather.
Johnson had become violent with family members, and had broken items inside and outside of the home. He had taken what police described as a stick, brought it into the home and attempted to set it on fire. Police had attempted to calm the youngster down, and officers with the city's Crisis Intervention Team had responded to speak with him.

However, the police got impatient with the situations.
So when they thought that the teenager was allegedly approaching them with the stick .. they opened fire with the taser guns. Johnson fell to the ground when he was tasered twice by unidentified police officers.

Zielinski said he had been in the home during the incident, and had been holding Johnson's arms behind his back at one point. He said police had told Johnson to drop the stick four times before using a Taser on him when he lunged at the officers. He said the teen ran into the home's basement, where he collapsed.

Johnson was brought to Nazareth Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 1:10 p.m. on Thursday, October 7.

Investigators have been working to determine how Johnson died, and what factors contributed to his death. This blogger will go out on a limb here and say that the 50,000 volts of electricity coursing through his body not once ... but twice ... may be the cause of death.

There is no indication that the teenager was on any drugs or medications at the time of his taser-related death
. Please let us know if you learn anything more about this case.


Gunfighter said...

What do you think that they should have done, Keith?

Villager said...

Gunfighter - I don't know the size of the young man ... however, his photo makes him appear very average in height and weight. The police knew that his mind was that of a child ... not an adult. The police had him contained within the house. The teenager was unarmed ... unless a stick is now considered a lethal weapon.

With those factoids it seems that the police could have either used simple brute force to bring him down and handcuff him (if that was their intention) ... or since they were inside where they didn't have to worry about mace spray blowing back on them ... they could have maced the child.

Either of those options would have resulted in detaining the mentally challenged teenager instead of killing him.

Gunfighter said...

Would you voluntarily enter into a fight with a man armed with a stick if you only had your fists and feet to fight with?

Villager said...

Gunfighter - It was a STICK (in my best Allen Iverson voice) ... a STICK. It wasn't a brick or a log or a knife or a gun. There had to be a better way.

He was 18-years old. He had mind of a 7-year old. He didn't need to die that day.

Would I volunteer....? No. But, then again, I'm not a paid law enforcement officer. It's not my role to volunteer to deal with mentally-challenged young people. That role went to the unidentified officer in Philadelphia who chose to electrocute this youngster instead of finding a way to diffuse the situation without taking his life.