You may have arrived here via a direct link to a specific post. To see the most recent posts, click HERE.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Taser to be tested at Quantico

"... Taser is, in effect, some kind of partner to us, since we purchase and field their systems ... not supporting them can hurt us in the public's eye." - Capt. Daniel McSweeney, spokesman for the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, QUANTICO (May 21, 2005 - Taser tied to 'independent' study that backs stun gun - The Arizona Republic)

March 29, 2009
By DEBBIE HALL - Martinsville Bulletin

A Taser will be tested to determine if it was operating properly the night a Martinsville teenager died after the device was fired to subdue him.

Botetourt County Commonwealth's Attorney Joel Branscom said Friday a special agent with the Virginia State Police delivered the Taser to federal facilities in Quantico earlier last week.

While staff in the state lab can perform tests on firearms, Branscom said Tasers could not be tested at the state level. However, federal authorities in Quantico apparently have the ability to do so, he said.

Branscom said he hopes tests on the device will determine “if there was some malfunction in the Taser that might have contributed to this” or eliminate malfunction as a possibility.

Derek Jones, 17, died Jan. 8 after Martinsville Police Officer R.L. Wray used a Taser, an electronic device, to subdue him. Police have said Jones was acting aggressively toward the officer.

The investigation of the incident was turned over to the state police.

Martinsville Commonwealth’s Attorney Joan Ziglar asked Branscom to review the investigation because after she visited the scene of the incident the night it happened, she felt the police officer was not at fault.

Martinsville Police Chief Mike Rogers has said the Taser was deployed in accordance with the department’s guidelines.

After receiving “a very thorough report,” Branscom said it appears that special agents with the Virginia State Police have “talked to everybody who could have possibly” witnessed any of the Jan. 8 activity on Rives Road.

He does not know of any other followup that is needed at this point from the state police, Branscom said.

However, he added autopsy results and the report on the Taser are not yet available.

Autopsy results generally can be obtained within six to eight weeks, but when toxicology tests are involved, the process can take longer, Branscom said.

He also does not know how long tests on the Taser may take.

Branscom said he is working to move the process along “as quickly as I can make it move.”

No comments: