Advertisement

Archive for Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Leavenworth police investigating man’s death after use of stun guns

July 21, 2010

Advertisement

— Leavenworth police are trying to determine whether a stun gun is to blame for the death of a 46-year-old man.

Edward Stephenson died Sunday evening soon after officers used their Tasers on him three times after he became unruly in a police car.

Police Chief Pat Kitchens says Stephenson ran into the Cyclone Bar yelling that someone was trying to kill him. WDAF reports that officers found Stephenson sitting in the street, yelling and screaming.

Kitchens says Stephenson was placed in the back of a police car and became violent, head-butting the door and trying to kick out the window. He died at a local hospital less than five minutes after being shocked with the stun guns.

The chief says he has no reason to believe the stun guns caused the man's death.

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 6 months ago

"Police Chief Pat Kitchens says Stephenson ran into the Cyclone Bar yelling that someone was trying to kill him."

I guess he was right.

"The chief says he has no reason to believe the stun guns caused the man's death."

WTF? Tasers are potentially very lethal weapons.

emaw 4 years, 6 months ago

So they tased him THREE times while he was already presumably handcuffed in the back of the car and they don't think that had anything to do with the death? Great work boys!

oxandale 4 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

independant1 4 years, 6 months ago

Sarcastic comment, They forgot to do the medical history workup before using non-lethal force.

From the article we are told, He was out of control, trying to kick out window of cruiser. The officers tasered him 3 X because, we have to assume, he did not stop that behavior. Perhaps they just needed to put him in time out and talk things out. That is the process his behavior, whether perp had any control over his behavior, put him in. He was on his way to adult time out.

We cannot assume the officers did not follow protocol. Their official mission is to protect and serve, somebody most likely called them due to disturbance. Did they pour gasoline on that fire? There is always a review, need more information before knee jerk assumption of what transpired and caused his death.

equalaccessprivacy 4 years, 6 months ago

Police are great at pouring gasoline on fires.

Cait McKnelly 4 years, 6 months ago

I think it's pretty obvious that what this man needed from the very start of this incident was an ambulance with heavy sedatives and not tasers. This is so similar to the incident of the Lawrence man who was tased in the process of having a heart attack. I understand police officers are not trained to assess medical situations but when certain factors are apparent they should be able to recognize when medical care is needed and not police intervention.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 4 years, 6 months ago

"I think it's pretty obvious that what this man needed from the very start of this incident was an ambulance with heavy sedatives and not tasers."

In hindsight that sounds smart, but that's not how ANY police force operates, or for that matter, how any ambulance service operates. Ambulances step in only after a situation has stabilized. An EMT is not going to try to stick a guy in the middle of his freak-out.

gphawk89 4 years, 6 months ago

Remember the little sedative injector thingy that Dr. McCoy would use on Star Trek to calm down freaked-out patients? One little zap to the neck and a second later the patient would basically be out cold. Where's Bones when you need him?

jehovah_bob 4 years, 6 months ago

I was always a big fan of the Vulcan nerve pinch.

milored 4 years, 6 months ago

Quick-everybody have a kneejerk reaction completely based on nothing resembling actual data or scientific fact. Just about every police department in the country uses these things on their own officers for training. If the Taser was going to kill someone, don't you think one of these body-by-Kripsy-Kreme specimens would have keeled over in the classroom by now?

On the other hand, dogpiling the guy in the back of the squad car and "encouraging" to behave in the good old fashioned LPD "don't make me get another officer to ride back there with you" is so much less offensive to the sensibilities.

ToriFreak13 4 years, 6 months ago

Yeah they are only hit once in training, and their bodies are prepared for the shock of it. They are not being tested on people with various heart conditions, while their adrenaline is pumping at rage levels, nor someone high on any number of drugs.

Shane Garrett 4 years, 6 months ago

IS hind sight better than the dicision of the moment? At least they used their taser and did not make the mistake of pulling their 38. The sad part is one human being is dead and all will be effected.

equalaccessprivacy 4 years, 6 months ago

Yes, a human life was lost--and cops woould rather lie than hold themselves accountable.

Jcjayhawk1 4 years, 6 months ago

All ya gotta do is follow the instructions of the officer.

jonas_opines 4 years, 6 months ago

Assuming that you're coherent and capable enough to do so?

What if he was clinically insane or mentally disturbed in some way?

Danimal 4 years, 6 months ago

Most cops seem to think that the appropriate response to almost any situation now is using a taser. Police departments need to remember that these aren't "non-lethal" weapons, but "less lethal" weapons. They usually don't kill, but certainly can.

I mean seriously. It sounds like this guy was emotionally or mentally disturbed from the article. So when you have a restrained person in the back of your car and they start freaking out you do what officers have done forever, hogtie them. I know that would require some old fashioned policing skills, but using your gun or taser isn't appropriate in every situation. I'm interested to see if they ever publicize the coroner's report on this one. A lot of people are dying across America from improper taser use. I think tasers are great and every officer should carry at least one or two, but they need to learn to use them responsibly like they have their firearms. The taser is a great tool for law enforcement, but it can't be used universally.

howie1 4 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

pantheon 4 years, 6 months ago

Something something have a hammer something something problem something nail.

gphawk89 4 years, 6 months ago

"A lot of people are dying across America from improper Taser use."

Any studies (legitimate ones) you can point us to to back up that statement?

staff04 4 years, 6 months ago

"He died at a local hospital less than five minutes after being shocked with the stun guns.

The chief says he has no reason to believe the stun guns caused the man's death."

Really? Ya can't think of any reason to believe that the shock to this dude's central nervous system five minutes before his death just might have been what killed him?

monheim 4 years, 6 months ago

It wasn't a shock to his nervous system! It was THREE shocks to his nervous system...get it right! ;-)

Kevin Haislip 4 years, 6 months ago

law inforcement in leavenworth county are known for tazing people in the back seat of their cars. recently tonganoxie police tazed a man that was cuffed in one of their patrol cars . the only right thing would be to take these deadley weapons away from the cops.

monheim 4 years, 6 months ago

That's just it. They may not have resorted to the gun, the stick or the fists. The tazers present officers with a completely different choice. It's painful and incapacitating but supposedly non-lethal. You raise a good point, but I just think the issue with cases like this is that tazers are a whole other animal.

monheim 4 years, 6 months ago

"...used their Tasers on him three times after he became unruly in a police car."

Did the patrol car not have a divider between the back and front seat? I mean honestly...if the guy is already cuffed and back there, I would think the worst he could do is kick out a window (even that is probably a stretch). If there were no divider, what is the guy doing? Spitting? Biting? He's cuffed...

I don't presume to tell a cop what to do but I would think you could let him burn off that steam without electrocuting him 3 times in a short period of time...

garyr 4 years, 6 months ago

This is another example of why I wanted to be a police officer growing up......The Tazer, Give 'em the Tazer!!!

meggers 4 years, 6 months ago

I can think of no reason that a man already cuffed and in the back of a patrol car would need to be tasered even once, let alone three times. It would have been at very close range, too.

Unless he was sitting in the patrol car without cuffs and suddenly became violent. The article isn't clear about whether or not he was cuffed.

Either way, the chief's comments are beyond absurd. Legally practical (admit no fault!), but completely and utterly ridiculous considering the man died less than 5 minutes after being tased.

Denny2009 4 years, 6 months ago

These taser devices need to be banned from the police force ASAP. So many people have died as a result of these and cops use them so haphazardly, its terrible. Theres cases of police using these on elderly women, I have seen the footage. And a women in Syracuse was tasered in front of her own kids for asking the cop to see the radar reading after being givin a speeding ticket. Folks open your eyes we aren't as free as some like to think.... I just see absolutely no reason to taser a man already handcuffed.

gphawk89 4 years, 6 months ago

"So many people have died as a result of these..."

Any studies (legitimate ones) you can point us to to back up that statement?

I have to agree that there's a lot of footage out there to support the claims that some cops are all too eager to use a Taser given the chance. But Tasers killing people? Show me the evidence.

Denny2009 4 years, 6 months ago

theres plenty of evidence. do a little research for yourself. underlying health conditions, especially heart problems, could put you at great danger if you are tased. How about being tased and smacking your head open against the concrete?? Theres so many ways to argue the banishment of tasers. Cops have nightsticks, cuffs, pepper spray, guns, dogs, back-up. Do they really need a device that shocks your nervous system??

gphawk89 4 years, 6 months ago

Point me to the evidence. I haven't found it. And I'm not talking about cases involving underlying conditions / head whacking. I want to read about at least one case when a taser itself killed an otherwise perfectly healthy person.

Personally I'd rather be hit with a taser than most of your alternatives. Tasers effects wear off fast - no permanent damage. That's obviously not the case for guns. Police dogs bite hard (stitches / scars). Pepper spray can easily kill someone if it's inhaled and triggers an asthma attack. Nightsticks could break bones.

puddleglum 4 years, 6 months ago

I feel for the cops and all that, but why not just whack in the face with a nightstick? hope the family sues and takes the department to the cleaners....tazers are nothing but trouble.....dumb dumbs.

rckchlkjhwk31 4 years, 6 months ago

Sounds like a case of excited delirum to me, which has nothing to do with a tazer.

Deja Coffin 4 years, 6 months ago

Can a person banging their head against a window of a car cause enough trauma that they could die from it?

kimmydarling 4 years, 6 months ago

Well it is the Leavenworth police. If there's one thing my hometown's police are known for, it's failing and overcompensating

Steve Miller 4 years, 6 months ago

It does not mater what they woudl have done differently, when they took him into custody, they became responsible. When the dude positined himself for this incident, he took the gamble and lost. He aenabled the cops to use the tasers. They are dangerous, but when you enable youerslf to be exposed to the taser, your in deep do do. They should be removed from the cops arsenol, but who knows. They both took the gamble , the guy lost for sure, and the cops will most likely loose also,.

purplesage 4 years, 6 months ago

I guess he was correct; someone was trying to kill him. I wonder if that ever got checked out? Or because he was unruly, they just used a show of force? And the chief has "no reason" to believe the tasers killed him? An autopsy will be revealing.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.