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Friday, January 09, 2009

17-year-old dies after taser incident in Virginia

Derrick Jones, 17, Martinsville, Virginia

This young man, apprehended for the crime of urinating outdoors, is the FIFTH 17-year-old to be tasered to death in North America, four in the US and one in Canada (Michael Langan). According to reports, "The officer turned around and saw the 17-year-old was unresponsive ... the "subject" did not appear to have a pulse." As we ALL know (except for the coroners who are scared of being SUED) "becoming unresponsive" and "being tasered" are too often one and the same.

This poor young man was, as usual, UNARMED. I'm outraged - are YOU?? It only gets worse by the day. Much worse.

Is this the world YOU want to live in?

Our deepest sympathy to this child's family and friends.

January 9, 2009
WDBJ7 Roanoke News

A 17-year-old man died after a Martinsville police used a taser on him. The incident happened late Thursday at a home on Rives Road.

Martinsville police said an officer was responding to a report of a person urinating in the street. When the officer arrived, he saw a person run inside a house. The officer followed and saw signs of forced entry and blood on a wall. As the officer went inside the house, a person ran upstairs. Another person, the 17-year-old, was in the kitchen. He became combative, according to the officer, who used his taser and then handcuffed the teen. The officer then went upstairs and handcuffed the other person in the house, a 15-year-old. The officer turned around and saw the 17-year-old was unresponsive. The officer started CPR and called for an ambulance. The teen died at the hospital. His name was not released at a Friday news conference.

The officer is on paid administrative leave. State Police are now investigating the incident. Witnesses told police there was a person lying in the street before police arrived and investigators are trying to determine if the teen was sick.

Martinsville police officers have been armed with tasers since 2006. The city's police chief defended their use in Friday's news conference.

Here is the full news release:

State Police Assist in Local Investigation

MARTINSVILLE, Va. - The Martinsville Police Department is working with the Virginia State Police on the investigation of an incident which occurred in the City of Martinsville on Thursday evening.

Martinsville Police Department Officers were dispatched at 9:25 p.m. to 307 Rives Road, a duplex apartment, in reference to a possible fight and/or disturbance. Upon arrival, Officer R. L. Wray observed, from his police cruiser, a young male run inside apartment number two. Officer Wray exited the vehicle and approached the front door of the residence where he observed signs of forced entry. Officer Wray then contacted dispatch requesting assistance.

Officer Wray then came in contact with an individual near the front door of the residence. Wray heard a series of loud repetitive noises coming from the kitchen area of the apartment. Officer Wray asked the individual in the kitchen to come out so that he could speak with him. The individual, also a young male, exited the kitchen and moved rapidly toward Officer Wray in an offensive stance. Officer Wray then deployed his Taser and subdued the individual. While he was in the process of handcuffing the individual from the kitchen, Officer Wray was confronted by the other male subject, who was now on the front porch. Wray gave the individual a verbal warning. The subject ceased his action and complied with the warning. Officer Wray finished handcuffing the individual from the kitchen, then proceeded to the front porch and advised the other male subject that he was under arrest.

MPD Officer E. W. Dillard arrived to assist Officer Wray. When Wray went back to the other individual from the kitchen and started speaking to him the subject was unresponsive. Officer Wray immediately called for medical assistance. The subject did not appear to have a pulse, so Officer Wray began CPR.

Medical personnel from Martinsville Fire & EMS arrived and treated the individual at the scene then transported him to Memorial Hospital of Martinsville and Henry County. The individual, later determined to be a 17 year old male juvenile, was pronounced dead at Memorial Hospital later that evening. The other arrestee, later determined to be a 15 year old male juvenile, was taken into custody without further incident. There were no other injuries.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of this young man and with Officer R. L. Wray and his family. This is one of the hardest things to deal with that any one can imagine as a citizen, a parent, or a law enforcement officer. We contacted the Virginia State Police as soon as we found out what had happened. They will take over the investigation from here forward. We will work with them in any way possible to bring this investigation to a fair and successful conclusion. May God bless all those involved and their families," said Martinsville Police Chief Mike Rogers.

The Virginia State Police will handle the investigation and media relations pertaining to the case from this point forward. Any questions should be directed to Sgt. Bob Carpentieri at 540-375-9598.

Martinsville Teen Dies After Being tasered by officer
MARTINSVILLE, Va. - A 17-year-old boy died in the hospital after being Tasered by a Martinsville police officer during an incident Thursday night, the city says.

At 9:25 p.m., an officer responded to a duplex apartment on 307 Rivers Road on a report of a disturbance, according to a city news release.

Upon arrival, Officer R.L. Wray observed a boy run into one of the apartments.

The officer exited his vehicle and approached the front door of the residence where he saw signs of a forced entry and immediately requested an additional officer.

Wray then heard several loud noises coming from the kitchen of the apartment and asked the boy to come out to speak with him.

A release says the boy then came out of the kitchen and came at Wray "rapidly" in an "offensive stance," when the officer deployed his Taser and subdued him.

While the boy was being handcuffed, a 15-year-old boy confronted the officer, but listened to commands to stop.

After the first person was handcuffed, Wray went to arrest the second teen.

Another officer arrived and when the officers went to check on the 17-year-old who was Tasered, the boy was unresponsive without a pulse.

EMS was called and officers immediately began CPR, the release states.

The teen, who has not been identified, later died in the hospital.

The Virginia State Police has been requested to investigate the case.

"This is one of the hardest things to deal with that any one can imagine as a citizen, a parent or a law enforcement officer," said Mike Rogers, Martinsville police chief.

"We will work with (the state police) in any way possible to bring this investigation to a fair and successful conclusion."

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