Tasered To Death: Traffic Stop Turns Fatal, Without Bullets (Updated)
The Harris County Sheriff's Office says its homicide unit will investigate the death of a man who was tasered by one of their deputies and died after hitting his head in a fall.
HCSO says the man,
whose identity is being withheld pending notification of his family, died this morning at 9:47 at Northwest Medical Center. (Update: He's been identified as "Jose Alfredo Jimenez (also known as Alfredo Jose Jimenez)" by HCSO, aged 42.)
He had been pulled over on a routine traffic stop about 6 p.m. Monday by deputy J. Shriver, a 19-year veteran of the department, in far northeast Harris County.
"The deputy instructed the driver to get out of the vehicle," the HCSO says. "A brief struggled ensued and the suspect fled on foot."
And that's when things went wrong.
Shriver shot his Taser "in an attempt to apprehend the fleeing suspect," HCSO spokesperson Christina Garza says.
The Taser connected, the suspect went down, and in "fell to the ground and hit his head."
He was taken to the hospital and underwent surgery.
The HCSO says it is releasing no further information at this time, although we've got a call in to see if they'll discuss the overall policy on just when to Taser people who aren't immediate threats to officers or bystanders.
Update: Garza cites this section of HCSO policy:
[Taser] deployment is justified when verbal commands are ignored or empty hand/soft-control tactics are ineffective...
It may be used to control a dangerous or violent suspect when deadly force does not appear to be justified and/or necessary; or attempts to subdue the suspect by other conventional tactics have been, or will likely be, ineffective in the situation at hand; or there is a reasonable expectation that it will be unsafe for Deputies to approach within the contact range of the subject.
Justified "when verbal commands are ignored" -- that's pretty much a free-fire zone.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.