July 5, 2012

Taser Death: Victor Duffy (Tukwila, WA)

It happened again! This time a mentally-ill 25-year old man - Victor Duffy - was electrocuted by the tasers of unidentified police officers in his own home. Most of the information that is known comes from the dead man's mother. [SOURCE]

Victor Duffy's mother returned to her Tukwila home on Saturday just as the police were arriving.

Her son, 25-year-old Victor Duffy Jr., called 911 during a fight with his younger sister despite his "deathly" fear of police, Deanne Mills said.

According to Mills, her son had been diagnosed as being bipolar and having post-traumatic stress disorder after a confrontation with police in which he was tased six years ago, she said.

Mills said she told the officers who came to her house on Saturday that her son was mentally ill and had not been taking his medications.

"I begged them not to use a Taser on him," Mills said Monday. "I told them he was afraid and I asked them to take care of him."

She said she and other family members were herded outside their home leaving her son alone in the house with police.

"As soon as we were out, I heard 'zzzt,' 'zzzt,' and knew they were tasering him," Mills said.

A short while later, she said, her son was dead.

The police haven't publically acknowledged that a taser was used. The Tukwila Police Department say that Duffy began to experience "breathing difficulties" while he was in an ambulance and died later at Harborview Medical Center.

The Tukwila police statement said officers were called to the home, where a "male with a history of mental illness was being combative with his family and making strange statements to the 911 operator" late Saturday morning.

Duffy was "holding a golf club and threatening his family" when officers arrived, according to police. Duffy's relatives said they could hear a Taser being used and him screaming inside the home while they were outside.

As officers tried to take him into custody for an involuntary mental-health commitment, Duffy attempted to escape and broke his ankle.

"He was so afraid that he jumped out of a second-story window to get away," said his cousin, Kevin Duffy.

Duffy's mother said that while her son was on the ground and unable to move, officers attacked him, used the Taser on him again and handcuffed him.

Police seem willing to use the power of their taser guns without any regard for the damage that it can cause. Were the police officers in danger from an unarmed man with a broken ankle? If not, why was a taser deployed on him? Instead of being helped by mental health professionals a 25-year old man is dead. Something is wrong with this picture.