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Saturday, February 04, 2012

Coroner Releases Details In Teen's Taser Death

Taser shock has not been ruled out as a cause of death for a high school student shocked with a stun gun by University of Cincinnati police officers.

Coroners still have not determined exactly what caused 18-year-old Everette Howard's death Aug. 6 during an altercation at a residence hall.

Officers had responded to a large fight at Turner Hall, and they said Howard appeared angry and didn't follow police orders. Family members and witnesses said Howard may have been trying to break up the fight.

A coroner's report showed Howard had a history of collapse and cardiac arrest after being shocked with a Taser. Howard was also subdued with a stun gun in a 2009 incident while he was in high school, and the teen required hospitalization afterward.

Coroners ruled out the toxic effects of stimulants or other drugs as a contributing factor in Howard's death, and they found no injuries to the back of his head or neck. Three puncture injuries and some abrasions were noted in the report.

Police said Howard appeared to be aggressively approaching an officer, who used his Taser to subdue the teen. Howard fell to the ground and was placed in handcuffs.

Howard went into cardiac arrest as he was examined by paramedics and was pronounced dead at University Hospital.

UC did not release a statement about the report's findings, and police said they would decline comment until the investigation was complete.

State officials are conducting an independent investigation of Howard's death.

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