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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Police Call Teen's Death 'Tragic'

This little tidbit of information is sure to give my readers a warm fuzzy feeling all over: "Taser International will be in town this week to INVESTIGATE THE TASER that was used on the teen. The group is working with the Michigan State Police, which is leading the investigation." Well, taser me in the chest - how gosh-darn comforting it is to know that Taser International will be right in there like a dirty shirt "investigating the taser" that killed a child?!?! If this was MY investigation, I wouldn't let them anywhere NEAR the taser in question. I'm choking on the "conflict of interest"

If we have learned nothing else in Canada, we have learned that neither Taser International nor the police are in a credible position to make a finding on the taser in question. This taser needs to be tested "independently."

March 24, 2009

BAY CITY, Mich. -- Police in Bay City held a four-minute news conference Tuesday afternoon to address the death of 15-year-old Brett Elder, who was possibly killed by a Taser.

During the conference, Bay City Police Chief Michael J. Cecchini addressed the media by reading a prepared written statement.

Uncut: Uncut: Bay City Police Chief Holds News Conference In Taser Incident

Cecchini said officers acted properly and denied an allegation that officers used the Taser gun after the teen was in handcuffs.

“A Taser electronic control device was deployed for one five-second cycle to subdue Brett,” Cecchini said.

“He was subsequently handcuffed without incident. Upon taking Brett into custody, officers recognized signs of a possible medical problem and immediately rendered aid and summoned medical personal to the scene.”

The teen was taken to the hospital and later died.

Elder’s family said the use of the Taser was unjustifiable and plans to file a lawsuit.

Police were originally dispatched to break up a fight at the home in the 200 block of Catherine Street early Sunday morning.

Police said when officers arrived they found two men fighting.

“Brett became unruly and took a fight stance against the officers,” Cecchini said. That's when Cecchini said officers used the Taser.

"He was flopping around and looked like a fish out of water," said Elder’s aunt Cindy Hernden. "That’s the only way to explain it -- his whole body was bent over."

Eugene E. Elder Sr. admitted his son had been drinking alcohol before the incident but claims officers used the Taser gun after Brett had been placed in handcuffs.

The officer who used the Taser is on administrative leave, standard procedure used by Bay City police in situations like these.

Cecchini said members of the Bay City Police Department have been armed with Taser Guns since February 2008 and currently have nine of the electronic control devices.

Taser International will be in town this week to investigate the Taser that was used on the teen. The group is working with the Michigan State Police, which is leading the investigation.

A fund has been set up to help with funeral costs for the Bay City teen. It’s called the Brett Elder Funeral Fund and donations can be made at any National City Bank branch.

An autopsy was performed on Elder’s body Monday, but results are pending a toxicology test.

Elder would have turned 16 Tuesday.

Amnesty International's London office said Tuesday the death "reinforces the need for greater caution" before Tasers are distributed more widely.

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