July 21, 2010

Taser Autopsy: Death of Efrain Carrion is Ruled 'Excited Delirium'

The autopsy of 35-year old Efrain Carrion is complete. Villagers may recall that this is the man police say was acrobatic enough to get loose from five officers (Sgt. James Prokop, K-9 Handler Doug Clark and officers William Hertler, Chris Lundberg and Elias Martz), a K-9 police dog and two handcuffs that held his arms behind his back. Yep ... this man was the 'Houdini' of Middletown CT. The police felt a need to electrocute him multiple times with their taser guns in his own backyard.

Anyhow, the medical examiner indicates that the cause of death is “excited delirium”.

The term isn't one recognized by the American Medical Association and has become controversial because excited delirium is most often listed as a cause of death in cases where someone died after being electrocuted with a taser gun.

The co-chairman of the legislature's Judiciary Committee, state Rep. Michael P. Lawlor, says he can't recall another case in Connecticut where excited delirium has been listed as the cause of death.
"Whether that's a diagnosis or a cause of death, I don't know," says Lawlor. "I'm not a doctor, but I have not heard of this as a cause of death before [in Connecticut]."
Some activists claim the term is being used to cover up cases where police have used excessive force, particularly when an incident involved the use of a Taser.

The Middletown Police Chief is hiding behind the finding by the medical examiner.

“Tasers are very safe if used properly. They are designed to minimize any injury to individuals and injury to police officers. It eliminates the need to use a nightstick or police dogs that can bite and harm someone. Absolutely nothing at the time indicates any wrong-doing done by the officers,” acting Middletown Police Chief Patrick McMahon said. “I think the medical examiner’s findings speak for themselves.”
Of course, there is another point of view from a witness at the scene of this prejudicial electrocution. Eunice Barrientos told reporters she called police to calm down her brother, Efrain Carrion who was acting irrational, but she never expected them to taser him to death.

They just tasered him and tasered him and let the dog chew him up,” the Middletown woman said.
She said after the officers were finished tasering her brother, they kicked him down the stairs as they were taking him out of the apartment.

My understanding is that the family will file a 'wrongful death' lawsuit against the city and the police officers. The Connecticut State Police Eastern District Major Crime Squad is currently still under investigation.

Villagers ... what are your thoughts about this taser-related killing?


Gunfighter said...

Why do you suggest that the police chief is hiding something? I don't see anywhere in this post that the facts of the case are in dispute. The sister of the deceased called the police to "calm down" her brother (apparently he was so out of control, he was causing a disturbance), the cops arrived and the brother fought with them... a taser was employed to subdue him, and he died as a result.

What is hidden? Do you doubt that the use of force was necessary?

Unknown said...

Gunfighter - The sister says that her brother was handcuffed behind his back; kicked down the stairs and repeatedly electrocuted with police taser guns.

The police tell a different story.

If the sister is right ... then there should be criminal charges against the police officers.

Time will tell...

Gunfighter said...

In the beginning of the post, you state that the subject was tasered in the back yard. Was it in the yard or in the apartment?

Was he tased while resisting arrest?

Were any injuries that he may have sustained in the alleged kicking down the stairs contributing factors in his death?

If he was irrational to the point of fighting several officers as well as at least one dog, don't you think that the use of a taser is warranted? What level of force do you think the police should have used? None?

Truthfully, you know more about this than I do, but looking ONLY at what you have in your post, Prima facie, the cops were well within the laws regarding the use of force... excpet for the allegation of the subject being kicked down the stairs. Regarding said kicking, if the only witness is the subject's sister, it won't amount to much of anything, because her impartiality is anything but certain.

Unknown said...

Gunfighter - Do you know if police reports are available in the public domain thru the Internet?

re: your questions --

Q1 - was he tased while resisting arrest?
A1 - yes, according to the police. no, according to his sister

Q2 - were injuries rec'd when he fell down the steps factors in his death?
A2 - not according to the medical examiner

Q3 - Was use of taser appropriate? what should the police have done?

A3 - I think that the police are too much in a rush. The man was in handcuffs ... why bring the dog into the house? why let the dog chew or bite on the man while he was in handcuffs?

The family called on the police for support ... they were not looking for a violent confrontation.

Unknown said...

Gunfighter - The officers involved in this taser-related death have been cleared of wrongdoing in this case.

128 said...

Officer Clark is a terrible cop and has been in trouble before at his former employer, the Granby police; Just read this case and you'll see what I mean....

Unknown said...

All - The Carrion family is filing a lawsuit in effort to get justice for the pre-judicial electrocution of Efrain Carrion. Read the story.