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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

INTERNAL Police Review Board Rules on DeKalb Taser Deaths

(See also Where once there was LIFE before tasers, NOW 100% of people tasered in DeKalb County, Georgia END UP DEAD)

September 1, 2010
Eve Chen, NBC, Atlanta, Georgia

DECATUR, GA -- Tasers weren't entirely to blame for the deaths of two criminal suspects tasered by DeKalb County Police.

An internal police review board ruling finds a number of factors, including pre-existing medical conditions, contibuted to the deaths of Audrecas Davis and Sukeba Olawunmi this past May.

"In both cases, officers responded to 911 calls for help on extremely combative individuals and were forced to physically subdue them using their Tasers," Officer Jason Gagnon, the police department's spokesman, said in a statement Wednesday.

"While the Taser did not directly cause [Davis'] death, in conjunction with his many other maladies they collectively followed a common road ending in his demise," the DeKalb County Medical Examiner's report stated. "Concerning the Taser, discomfort related to the use of this weapon probably caused sympathetic nervous system discharge, further stressing a heart with advanced established disease."

The report further noted: "Except for cocaine induced excited delirium, no one factor may be singled out as being more important than the other with respect to [Olawunmi's] death. Furthermore, she may have died under similar circumstances even without the use of the Taser."

DeKalb County Police Chief O'Brien stood by the Taser's use.

"While both of these incidents were extremely unfortunate in that they resulted in death, I know my officers followed the proper protocols," O'Brien said in a statement. "Our mission is to preserve and enhance the quality of life for the citizens of DeKalb County and that mission will continue to remain our top priority."

Both tasing deaths happened within a week of each other.

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