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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Teenager Dies After Being Tasered

Although an autopsy is needed to find out the cause of death, from what is known right now, Darryl Wayne Turner, 17 years old, died after being shocked with a taser gun in a supermarket in Charlotte North Carolina.
Turner worked at Food Lion, in Northeast Charlotte at 3024 Prosperity Church Road, bagging groceries and a cashier.

Officers were called to the supermarket, Thursday, at approximately 1:15pm when reports of a disturbance were called in and upon their arrival they witnessed the teen throwing something, not yet identified for reporters, at the store manager.

According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) press release, Turner was "highly agitated", and refused all verbal commands from the police and advanced toward them.

Police officer, Jerry Dawson Jr, used his taser to get Turner under control.

Consistent with CMPD policy when a Taser is deployed, the Charlotte Fire Department and MEDIC were called to the scene. They noticed Mr. Turner had become unresponsive and transported him to CMC University where he was pronounced deceased. As with any death investigation, the Medical Examiner will determine cause of death in this case.

Also according to the CMPD website, they have used tasers since 2004, and last year alone they availed the use of tasers 138 times, with no deaths associated with their use.

Following standard operating procedure, Officer Dawson, who has been a police officer for almost 15 years, has been placed on Administrative Leave pending an investigation, which the results of will be reported to the Mecklenburg County District Attorney's office.

There will also be a separate Internal Affairs investigation.

Turner's mother, Tammy Fontenot, said her son, "had manners" as well as having, "a temper", but she could not see her son throwing something at anyone during an argument.

Around lunchtime, Turner had come home to eat and told his mom that he had stolen a couple of Hot Pockets from the store. A supervisor planned to get a district manager involved and he feared disciplinary action, she said.

She said she told him to go back to the store and face up to what happened.

It wasn't long after lunch she got a call from one of her son's co-workers, who told her about the incident, she said.

On Friday the medical examiner issued a statement saying, "Preliminary autopsy results show no obvious cause of death," they declined to elaborate further until the full autopsy results are in.

The police department has not yet released the original 911 tapes in which the officers were called to the scene.

Turner's family has hired an attorney, Ken Harris, to represent them, who stated to WCNC, "We would want to know what circumstances confronted the officers at the time they decided to use whatever force they used at the scene. That would certainly stimulate litigation if we find that protocol was not followed."

At this time, eyewitness reports are not available.