August 21, 2011

Taser Death: Roger Chandler (Helena, MT)

Roger Chandler, who was electrocuted by Lewis & Clark County sheriff's deputies late Sunday night, died on August 17th at a Great Falls hospital. [SOURCE]

Police were responding to a complaint on Sunday night about a man acting violently. Lewis & Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said that Chandler, 41, had burst out of a camper next to the home and was "out of control."

Dutton said that his deputies were left with no choice but to electrocute the man with their tasers. Dutton claims that Chandler had 'excited delirium' which is similar to what chronic drug abusers show. Of course the sheriff is not a medical expert ... he is simply spinning the story to try and place the blame for the taser-related killing on drugs rather than on poor training or inappropriate use of a taser on an UNARMED naked man.

Dutton said officers acted again with blasts from their taser guns when Chandler's erratic behavior and lack of response continued.

Lewis & Clark County Coroner Mickey Nelson doesn't know why Chandler died. Rather than place the blame on the 50,000 volts of electricity that were shot into the man's body on at least two occassions, Nelson said, "At this point there is some medical...why he died, but at the same time until the autopsy has been concluded and toxicology, I'm not going to make a determination at this point."

Chandler worked as a manager at the Quarry Bar & Grille in downtown Helena.

As a key employee he managed over 30 people at the restaurant. Co-workers and others were said to be shocked over hearing the news, even though many knew he was in the process of a divorce. Someone may want to mention that being upset about a divorce is usually not punishable by the DEATH PENALTY!
Neighbor Brian Brewer said, "I met him a couple of times across the street. Helped him put a roof back on his house after the wind blew off. He seemed like a pretty nice guy."
Final results from the corner's inquest and the state investigation will be turned over to the County Attorney's office for further review

The Montana Criminal Investigation Bureau is also investigating the incident.


Anonymous said...

I take it you don't realize that Roger has been married at least three times before, and has a WELL documented history of domestic violance? Not to mention he has had several (long) stints in JAIL for drug related charges (New York) and vechile/property theft (Florida)? So, to say that this is a excessive police violence "damn the man" case, is just down right ignornant. Roger is known by friends in both FL and NY for having no regard for anyone except himself. He's in Montana to get away from his violent past, yet it is something he could never control. Next time you post something without at least looking at the public record, don't bother doing it. I see you ommited a great deal of detail from OTHER articles about his past - which each article I've read, shows.

Villager said...

NewsIntegrity - I don't know Roger ... quite frankly, I've only been to Helena MT once in my life. I didn't know about his marriages or his criminal record. I'm fairly certain that the penalty for being married and divorced ...and even for a violent PAST should not be DEATH. In this case, he was UNARMED.

Perhaps we can agree that the outcome was a poor one for everyone concerned. Our nation is not made better when the police engage in extra-judicial electrocution.

These taser-killings are happening at a rate of once a week in America. That is simply unacceptable in my view.

Anonymous said...

I am more or less arguing with the very obvious bias that the article gives off. There was no mention of his history with run-ins with the law. It's public record that he HAD/HAS a history of drugs and additionally is known to have a VERY violent personality. He served at least two stints in prison, and has a track record of criminal activity.

To simply ignore that in context of what exactly "happened" and not make light of it in the posting (and actually to the very opposite in my opinion) seems to be so wrong in so many ways.

As the saying goes, if it quakes like a duck ... must be a duck.

I wouldn't put it past Roger to have come out threatening the entire crew of police crew onsite and the probability under the influence of a control substance. Short of the toxicity report - which is still out as far as I know, I will hold my opinion until its proven conclusively that he WASN'T on a controlled substance such as cocaine, etc. he most likely WAS on something.

I'm as fair as the next guy with respect to innocent until proven guilty. However, to be honest ... this guy probably had it coming sooner or later. You just can't play with the devil and not expect to get burned, and its just a matter or probability based on his sorted past, that something like this was going to end his life.

Am I happy about it? Unfortunately, I have to say yes (as I grin without remorse for the guy). I think I know a number of people who reacted to it, "Don't taze me bro!" was the first thing I heard. This is my opinion, and I respect yours as well. However, with this individual he was more deserving than the next guy to end up in situation he ended up in.

You don't have to like what I have to say about it, but I just felt I had to respond more about the biased of the article than I did about his death, however, I its not a crime to say he had it coming to him.

Anonymous said...

Lastly, I'm not trying to pick a fight ... so hopefully you don't take it as such. You are right that there are some innocent people getting killed by excessive force through these devices, but this particular situation looks really sketch from the outside looking in.

Villager said...

News Integrity - Thank you for providing more clarity on your position. I am simply a blogger. I never claim to be a journalist. I try to provide links to the 'source' for most of my taser-related blog posts.

I do have a POV ... and it is probably biased in favor of the people who are being killed on a weekly basis. I think it is simply not right for someone to be killed so often by a supposedly 'non-lethal' weapon. There is something wrong and I hope that it is dealt with at some point in our future.

re: Roger Chandler. He may be a terrible person. But the legal penalty for being a terrible person isn't DEATH. There is no coming back from DEATH. The police didn't have the right to kill this man (based on information currently available in the public domain).

Villager said...

All - Roger Chandler's mother questions taser-related death of her son.

Russ said...

Without a doubt this blog is BIASED but that is why it is a blog and I expect that. However, with no offense intended the writer seems very close minded and ignorant on matters of Taser devises, police work, excited delirium or the task of fighting/controlling people whom want to fight or behave in a manner that make others plea for police assistance. Your blog would have better credibility if you were to educate yourself on the matters. Otherwise it sings the same song that no one is responsible for their actions and police killed however is in their custody at the time of death. Before Taser devices people were alleged to have died from positional asphyxia, pepperspray, batons etc. Without a doubt there have been unreasonable and even criminal misuses of force in police work. It is the minority of incidents. Unfortunately your red ink and bold letters cry wolf at some lawful uses of force so it clouds the true problem of the bad ones. A person doesn't have to be armed to be a threat of serious bodily injury. I have known of several incidents where people have been killed with no weapon. I could go on and on but this could go on and on back and forth but I won't entertain that. Best wishes.

Villager said...

Russ - I appreciate your comments and encourage you to continue to educate, correct or advise as you deem appropriate. Rather than generic discussions ... please share your thoughts on specific cases as they are shared. In this case, the victim was a man with a shady past. However, he was unarmed. It just seems that he didn't have to be killed. The penalty for resisting arrest (or domestic violence) should not be extra-judicial electrocution by the police.

Russ said...

Well there is not much information reference the specifics of this case to speak of it but let me attempt. Deputies were called to help due to a man who was out of control and showed signs of excited delirium or drug intoxication. If the officer's intent was to kill him they would have shot him! My question to Villager is, "How do you propose police handle that situation?" Seriously, is there some better way that no police officer, D-Tac Instructor, HR manager, City Attorney, kung fu super master has figured out. As of right now Taser devices are the best option when they work as intended. My followup question to your answer is "Have you ever truly fought a person in a state of delirium where pain is ineffective on them?" Give police a better way please. Killing a person is in no way something police want to do, it sucks! But walking away and leaving a maniac in society to hurt or kill others is not a choice.

Villager said...

Russ - The suspect is unarmed. There is nobody in danger at the point the police arrived on the scene. If the police are feel that he is not susceptible to pain and high on drugs ... why do they shoot him with a taser? Why not simply contain him where he's at until he's calmed down and the police are able to detain/restrain him without killing him?

Russ said...

Taser devices in probe mode are not pain compliance although they hurt. Taser devices cause neuro muscular incapacitation NMI by overriding the central nervous system making the muscles contract and lock up.
Contain him until he calms down, really???? There is a good utube video when an officer who does that but it would be too pro-police to post on your blog (I would guess). Search "excited delirium appleton police". The officer did just that, but my experience is that people who are freaking out generally fight to not be contained. So do we allow them to run around assaulting others, vandalizing property, creating a real hazard to others until they pick up a weapon. People have killed others with empty hands. In my 11 years on the job I have seen at least 4 people who died from empty hands. If an empty handed subject swings his fist at me it is an attempt to knock me out, take any weapon including mine to kill me. Containing a person in one of these states without a Taser device will without a doubt result in more significant injuries to officers and the suspect. Including death which you would then blame on police for positional asphyxia or some other cause. I have exposed hundreds of cadets to Taser devices, I have taken three 5 second hits, I have witnessed over a hundred (no exaggeration) adults hit with the probes for 5 second rides. I have never seen one serious injury. Obviously in non training exposures there are greater colateral risks. Face the fact; people on dope and in medical emergencies whom are so far gone they behave in a manner that requires police to called a at risk of death as it is. Mix in a struggle to restrain, foot chase, etc it is a deadly business.

Villager said...

Russ - No question that the split-second decisions being made by police officers are being made with good intentions. However, the results ... a weekly taser-related death ... seem to be a reason to slow down and re-look at the weapon or the training.

On another note, I did use the keywords you suggested. I came up with this YouTube video, however, I don't think that this is the one you wanted me to see. Can you provide the YouTube URL that you refer to in your comment above?


First I would like to thank Village for providing a forum for free speach. Second I would like to thank Russ for protecting those who can't protect themselves. I rember when TaZers weren't around,a lot more Officers and suspects were injured and there were a hell of a lot more officer involved shootings. Village you eluded to the fact that Sherrif Dutton isn't a doctor well I for one have seen Sherrif Duton in action at more that one traffic accident he is a National recoginised Paramedic and unless a Tamra Surgeon happens to be on the scene you couldn't be in better hands. Sherrif Duttons Department is well trained and is the home of the State Police Academy. None of the Officers and Deputies here violate peoples rights. They aren't heavy handed and they don't ruff people up, but they don't like people taking advantage of our children old people and you better make sure you take care of you dog and god help you if you leave your animal with out water. and they down right frown on people beating their wives Not that this guy did any of that, its just the type of men who work for this Sherrif Dept. I am not going to say its a crappy job but someone has to do it because these men love their work and they are good at it and the live in a beautiful state where you can safely raise a family. Next time someone like Roger Chandler decides to act like a idiot and come charging out at the police remember that the first handle the officer grabs might not be the handle of a TaZer.
You don't need to be in great physical condition to fight you wife but you better have a strong heart when you try to grab one of out bulls. I don't think old Roger came running out because he was glad to see the Cop Hell the way he came out of there he just might of thought that his dealer had just dropped over with a fresh teener. From where I set it looks like its another Out A Stater giving Montana a black eye. As shocking as it may seem others have gotten their names connected to Montana who weren't born here. Ted Kaczynski and Russell Eugene Weston(you might have to google that one) We only have 4 people on death row and all are White, Hay why don't you count how may lives were saved by the use of a TaZer. NOW get this Garbage out of Our State and into a Federal Prison or a grave yard (out of state preferably)

Villager said...

Power Gentry - I wanted to acknowledge your comment. I appreciate your support of your local sheriff ... and I don't consider this incident a poor reflection on your state. I just think that the death of an UNARMED person is a sign that something is wrong.

Villager said...

All - Helena police officers cleared in taser-related killing of Roger Chandler. [SOURCE]