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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

No evidence that deputies killed cat with taser

May 6, 2008
By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times

Orange County sheriff's officials have found no evidence to prove that deputies used a Taser electric stun weapon on a stray cat at the Theo Lacy jail in Orange, a spokesman said today.

Last month, the department disclosed that it was investigating inmate reports that deputies had shocked a cat with a Taser and that the decomposed carcass of a cat was found on the jail grounds.

A necropsy was inconclusive as to whether the dead cat had been shot with a Taser, said department spokesman John McDonald.

"We were unable to determine if there was any connection between the dead cat and the reported Taser use," McDonald said.

The investigation concluded that deputies may have pulled the trigger of the Taser, without firing the darts through which electric current is transmitted into targets. The test-firing made a loud noise that may have spooked a nearby cat, causing it to run away, department sources said.

Results of the investigation have been turned over to Mike Gennaco, who is serving as an internal affairs consultant for acting Orange County Sheriff Jack Anderson. Gennaco is chief attorney for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office of Independent Review.

Two newly hired deputies who had been assigned to Theo Lacy were discharged from the department after the investigation began, but there was no indication that their termination was related to horseplay with the Taser.

Deputies Joseph E. Mirander and Duy X. Tran each ended their employment with the Sheriff's Department on April 17, county personnel records show. Both had been assigned to Theo Lacy.

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