October 23, 2011

Coroner Rules 'Homicide' in the Taser-Killing of Alonzo Ashley

This blog told you about the taser killing of 29-year old Alonzo Ashley that took place at the Denver Zoo earlier this year. Denver's coroner recently ruled that the death at the hands of the police was a homicide. [SOURCE]

Officers said Ashley bit them before they electrocuted him with 50,000 volts of electricity from a taser gun. Police shot the taser gun FIVE times even though they had Ashley face-down on the ground, with shoulders pressed down, hands cuffed behind his back and legs crossed, flexed and pressed toward his buttocks, the autopsy by Dr. John Carver says.

Ashley began convulsing and he was dead before paramedics arrived.

Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey, however, said Ashley's death met no legal criteria for prosecution under Colorado homicide statutes.
"This clearly is not a homicide under Colorado law," Morrissey said. "I have some real questions about using the term homicide."
Police Chief Gerry Whitman said all the officers who responded to the incident will remain on duty. Additional investigations by police and Manager of Safety's Office to determine whether policies were violated are pending.

Ashley's death sparked protests by the Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance. Dr. Timothy Tyler, pastor of Denver's Shorter Community AME Church, said that the city promised changes after Marvin Booker's death at the city jail in July 2010 but that apparently nothing has changed.

He predicted the Police Department will investigate its own and determine that the officers followed the restraint policy.
"Perhaps the restraint policy needs to be changed," Tyler said.
I suspect that the next thing we hear from this case will be a lawsuit filed by Mr. Ashley's family.