August 8, 2011
Greg Stanley, Rockford Register Star
ROSCOE — A 21-year-old man suffered a heart attack Tuesday after he was struck with a Taser by a Roscoe police officer.
Police confronted Anthony Slaymaker of South Beloit that night on a sidewalk near the McCurry Road and Illinois 251 intersection. It’s unclear what led to the confrontation and why the officer fired a Taser gun.
Slaymaker was taken in an ambulance to Rockford Memorial Hospital where he was put into a medically induced coma. He has since woken from the coma and is recovering in a hospital bed, said Terry Monahan, Slaymaker’s attorney.
“He’s not totally responsive yet,” Monahan said.
Slaymaker hasn’t been criminally charged or arrested. A police report of the incident is not yet available.
Roscoe police Chief Jamie Evans declined to comment on the confrontation.
“We’re still investigating everything, and we’re going to put everything under review,” Evans said.
The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department began an independent investigation into the matter. Once Evans has the results of that investigation, she’ll meet with State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato to determine how best to move forward.
Slaymaker’s family is also waiting for more information and may take legal action against the Police Department.
“We’re not there yet,” Monahan said. “We need some more facts and Anthony to be recovered. We don’t have the police reports from the officers who responded. We’re still trying to determine if any future residual problems may be there.”
Evans said it isn’t clear whether Slaymaker’s medical emergency was caused solely by the Taser gun or whether a medical condition contributed to it.
In October 2009, TASER International issued a nationwide warning bulletin that advised officers against shooting a Taser gun into someone’s chest. The bulletin said it opens the officer, the agency and TASER International to liability if heart damage, such as sudden cardiac arrest, occurs.
Rockford police and the Sheriff’s Department rounded up their Taser guns a day after the bulletin was issued and haven’t used them since.
The use of Tasers has recently caused legal problems for other local police departments and municipalities. The city of South Beloit faces a lawsuit that stems, in part, from former Sgt. Brad McCaslin’s 2008 use of a Taser on a handcuffed woman. McCaslin also faces criminal charges for the incident.
The Winnebago County Board reached an $85,000 settlement agreement in February with a woman who was struck with a Taser by a sheriff’s deputy while she was handcuffed in 2008.
WELCOME to TRUTH ... not TASERS
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
August 8, 2011