Shawnee County deputies use Taser on Lawrence man three times before his death
Topeka ? A Lawrence man was stunned with a Taser three times by a Shawnee County Sheriff’s deputy shortly before his death, officials said Wednesday.
The Taser stun gun was applied to Walter Edward Haake Jr., 59, three times, delivering 1,200 volts each time, Shawnee County Sheriff Dick Barta said at a news conference.
“The first two times was two seconds each, and the third time was a little longer than that, maybe four seconds,” he said
After the third time, there was a brief altercation and Haake was handcuffed, Barta said. Then Haake became non-responsive, and taken by ambulance to a hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly afterward, Barta said.
Deputies had been dispatched shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday to the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. plant, where Goodyear employees were trying to get Haake, a worker there, to not drive away because they thought he was suffering from a medical condition, possibly a head injury.
Deputies asked Haake to get some medical attention, but he refused, Barta said.
“The intent was to get this person helped,” Barta said. “I don’t know if the Taser caused,” his death, he said. He said the deputies did take away Haake’s vehicle keys.
Outside the news conference, a friend of Haake’s carried a sign protesting the use of a Taser.
“You can’t take the lazy way out and tase people,” said John McNown. “They should’ve called a more qualified person to handle that situation,” he said.
Barta said that two investigations into the incident are ongoing, but that the two deputies who were involved remained on duty.
The Taser was used in the “Drive Stun” capacity, where the Taser is held against the person without firing a cartridge, and is intended to cause pain without incapacitating the person, officials said.