April 19, 2009

Fort Worth Police Taser Michael Jacobs to Death in Front of His Parents

Another senseless death from taser-wielding police. This time Michael Jacobs, a 24-year old mentally impaired Blackman was killed when 50,000 volts of electricity entered his body from the taser gun of a Fort Worth police officer.

This death occurred earlier today. Michael's parents ... who called the police in the first place ... watched the light go out of their son's eyes as he died on their front lawn after being tased by the police. Do you think that these parents called the police to their house with the intent of watching their son being killed?

Charlotte Jacobs, Michael's mother, told relatives that her son was writhing on the ground and foaming at the mouth while he was being stunned, and she begged for the officers to stop. Would the police have tasered a white boy in front of his parents? I think not...

Family members said they believe that police officers used excessive force to subdue Jacobs, who had been diagnosed with mental illness. It seems that they don't teach the use of force continuum down in Texas. Why else would these officers kill Michael Jacobs on his own front lawn?

They have been to the house many times before and they know Charlotte," said Helena Wigfall, 37, a cousin of Michael Jacobs. "That’s why we don’t understand why today was so different."

Kyev Tatum, a Fort Worth pastor who spoke for the family on Saturday, said the parents are asking for an outside investigation as well as someone other than the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's office to perform an autopsy.

"The family believes it was a wrongful death," Tatum said. "The mother was making a cry for help, and it has turned into a tasing death. There have been no answers as to why police used a Taser instead of the manpower that was available to them."
Villagers, am I the only one troubled by the increased frequency of these taser-related executions?


Gunfighter said...

Sorry about removing my first post... it was full of typos... but I am on my way to church and am in a bit of a hurry.

Here it is:

According to the story, this young man became uncooperative and combative with the police(Combative meaning threatening or that the subject was fighting).

The story says that the subject (subject, not victim) was 5' 5" and weighed 150 pounds and was schizophrenic and had bi-polar disorder.

The story says that the subject's mother called the police (although it isn't really clear as to why, but clearly she was afraid for her safety).

So the cops arrive at the home of a woman who is afraid of her son. The cops confront the subject who is combative, they use a taser to subdue him, and the subject dies.

It happens. We don't know, and won't know until toxicology reports come back, what kind of medications the subject was using. We don't know anything other than the officers used a legitimate tool to subdue a combative subject, and the subject died.

Perhaps we should remain calm and find out all of the facts of the story first.

Unknown said...

Gunfighter - I truly appreciate your calm, cool interpretation. Your experience as a LEO gives a perspective that I don't have. I just think something is wrong when a short, light weight kid without a weapon ends up dead.

- Why didn't the Ft. Worth police give CPR to the young man?

- Why did the Ft. Worth police send the ambulance away?

I dunno ... it just seems wrong that a young man with a mental illness is dead this morning. At the end of the day "being uncooperative and combative with the police" isn't punishable by death.

Hey Shae! said...

No you are not the only one troubled by these taser deaths. I am troubled about the number of Deaths by Officers period. They are creating a social environment where it is almost easier to deal with criminals than to call the police for help.

underOvr (aka The U) said...


I think it's chilling that in one week I've read about three young Black males who died as a result of police using tasers; there isn't much of an outcry or media attention.

Why are so many police departments across the country using a lethal device when they have no medical training?


Jaye said...

This is so disturbing, but it is not only happening to Afro Americans. I have a good friend, a white woman in her 40's, who was tasered over 20 times in her front yard by the police in front of her teenage son and elderly mother two years ago. This happened in a small town in southern Alabama. She had photos taken at the hospital of all the burns, but she never did file suit against the PD because of threatening behavior. They would come to her neighborhood and sit in their cars in front of her house for hours after this event.

They had originally come to the my friend's house because of her son. Because my friend got upset, they tasered her repeatedly. They did not arrest her because they had no valid reason to. They didn't arrest her son either or anyone else.

Obviously the police use these tasers without regard to the harm they may do. And there is no reason to repeatedly taser an individual. One stun is usually enough to take an average person down.

I feel so bad for the parents of this boy. You know they will carry the guilt with them for the rest of their lives wishing they had not called the police. But, of course, it is not their faults.

Gunfighter said...

I could show a great deal of evedince that indicates that, properly used, TASERS very rarely kill. Does it happen? Yes. Are some TASER-related deaths the result of poor training? almost certainly. Are TASERS execution or torture devices? Not at all.

The TASER is a useful tool... one of the best things about the TASER is that it often precludes a police officer from taking a baton to an uncooperative subject. Being TASED hurts... it's supposed to hurt. The good thing about being tased is that you don't get broken bones from it like you would agains a steel baton.

Regarding the young man in the article. Being combative isn't punishable by death, but it certainly justifies the use of less-lethal devices like the TASER. Whether or not he was armed doesn't really enter into it.

The initial article doesn't mention ambulances or CPR... or does it?

Unknown said...

Shae - I agree with you. Something is fundamentally wrong when so many people are dying from these supposedly non-lethal weapons. We can no longer turn a blind eye to this taser situation...

underOva - Your point is well taken. I've learned that we cannot often depend on the mainstream media. That is the power we have with our blogs. Have you shared your thoughts on these taser deaths with your blog readers?

Unknown said...

Jaye - I'm very sorry for the taser experience that your friend experienced. Being tased multiple times seems inhumane. I hope that we are able to lift the profile of these cases so that police need to ensure they have proper training...

Gunfighter - I appreciate your comments. I hope that the police investigation in each of the recent tasing incidents provides some greater undertanding for all of us. The Michael Jacobs death may be harder for the police to explain away. It seems that they sent away EMS and didn't supply CPR. That can't be right, can it?

underOvr (aka The U) said...


"Have you shared your thoughts on these taser deaths with your blog readers? I have not but I do accept your challenge to speak out.I will attempt to gather some information on the actual number of fatalities and the racial makeup of those who died.

Thank you


mhardin said...

This says it all:
Electrocution with an ELECTRIC TORTURE DEVICE is as CRUEL and UNUSUAL as Punishment can get. The imposition of CRUEL and UNUSUAL Punishment is a clear violation of the Constitution prohibiting the imposition of CRUEL and UNUSUAL punishment. email your Congress Person to Get behind the "Michael Jacobs FAT-CAP-LAW." That's the Michael Jacobs-Federal Anti Torture by Civilians and Police Law. This law will make torture by electrocution a felony and will make the manufacture, sale,possession and use of Electric Torture Devices a felony.

Unknown said...

Even though Michael Jacobs lived in Fort Worth, Texas I personally grew up with him. I am from Little Rock, Arkansas and growing up as a child he was like a brother to me because he was my brothers best friend. He had no mental problems what so ever and I am very shock to hear that he was diagnosed with a mental illness. He was loving, caring, and always looed out for me. We lived in the same neighborhood about 6 houses down from each other. He would always come over our house to eat, play basketball or just hang out. I think his death was wrong. The taser lasted for a total 54 seconds. It doesn't take this long to subdue an individual. Clearly that was too long. And plus the officers initially turned the ambulance away...why? They didn't even give him CPR. They tased him put handcuffs on him and watched him die. I wish there was something I could do for justice to be served for the officer who did this. R.I.P Michael Jacobs Jr. We love and miss you dearly...