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Saturday, August 06, 2011

Student dies after Taser shocking at University of Cincinnati

August 6, 2011: Everette Howard, 18, Cincinnati, Ohio

August 6, 2011

An 18-year-old man attending college preparatory classes at the University of Cincinnati died Saturday after a campus police officer used a Taser on him.

Officers rushed to Turner Hall about 3 a.m. after receiving a 911 call about an assault. The dormitory is located on Jefferson Avenue near the intersection with University.

As officers were trying to figure out what had happened, the teenager approached them outside the hall. The teen appeared agitated, angry and had balled fists, UC Assistant Police Chief Jeff Corcoran said.

Officers ordered the teen to stop approaching them more than once but he refused, Corcoran said. The teen was stunned by one cycle of the Taser and subdued.

Following protocol, the officer checked his condition. Corcoran said the teen had a good pulse and was breathing but that officers said he appeared incoherent and seemed to have an “altered mental status.”

The fire department and paramedics were called to examine the teen. As he was in their care, he went into cardiac arrest was taken to the nearby University Hospital, where he could not be resuscitated.

Two investigations have been launched because of the incident. An internal investigation will look into the use of force by the officer, who was immediately placed on mandatory administrative leave. Corcoran said the department has suspended the use of Tasers until they can determine what caused the teen’s death.

An autopsy has been ordered.

“I want to emphasize we don’t know what the cause of the death is at this point,” Corcoran said.

The second investigation is trying to determine what initiated the original 911 call and whether an assault has taken place. There have been no arrests or criminal charges filed.

“We are extremely unhappy and upset at the outcome of this call,” Corcoran said. “No one wants to see the death of an 18-year-old. It was not anyone’s attention. The officer is very distraught.”

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