Bring Police Accountability
Arrested Man Dies After Two Taser
May 19, 2005
A 55-year-old man arrested Monday on suspicion of
being under the influence of a controlled substance died Tuesday
after being shocked twice with a Taser stun gun by San Bernardino
County sheriff's deputies, authorities said.
Leroy Pierson was seen acting strangely near an intersection,
officials said, and was shocked when he became combative. He was
taken to Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Fontana, where he
Copyright 2005, The Los Angeles
shows 5 Taser shocks in 1 minute
His last words were: "Don't kill
me, man. Don't kill me."
A videotape of the struggle between Frederick Williams and Gwinnett
County Sheriff's deputies shows he was struck with a Taser stun gun five
times within one minute. Within four minutes, the 31-year-old
Lawrenceville man had lost consciousness.
The tape, filmed at the Gwinnett County jail, was part of an 11-month
investigatory file that District Attorney Danny Porter's office released
this week. The file became public after Porter announced he will not
press criminal charges against deputies involved in the incident. Porter
asked the grand jury to consider the case this week.
"The evidence and particularly the videotape raised questions that were
most appropriately answered by the grand jury," Porter said. "The grand
jury declined to go forward."
Melvin Johnson, an attorney representing Williams' wife and four
children, has seen the videotape.
He said he disagrees with the district attorney's decision. He has asked
the FBI to investigate.
"He was pleading for his life," Johnson said. "They claim they were
trying to immobilize him but he was already in handcuffs. They were
clearly trying to inflict pain on a person they thought had injured one
of their fellow officers."
Williams was arrested May 25, 2004, during a domestic disturbance at his
According to police reports, Williams' family said he refused to take his
epilepsy medication and was acting violent and irrational.
Williams got into an altercation with the first officer arriving on the
scene, Gwinnett police Officer R.E. Kenyon. According to an incident
report, Williams charged the officer and grabbed his baton as Kenyon
tried to strike him. The two struggled over the baton and Kenyon lost his
balance, falling to the ground, bloodying his nose.
Kenyon called for backup over his police radio. Several officers arrived
and tackled and subdued Williams.
He was taken to the jail, where deputies were alerted that they had a
"delta," Gwinnett law enforcement slang meaning a combative inmate.
About 11 deputies were standing at the back door of the jail as an
officer dropped Williams off, including a deputy who was videotaping the
Williams, his arms handcuffed behind his back, his feet bound, was
rocking back and forth in the back of the police car as deputies
approached. The deputies grabbed him out of the car and carried him into
the jail. As they were carrying him, Williams pleaded with deputies not
to kill him. It was his last audible comment.
They carried him through the jail entrance to an area where restraint
chairs are located. They placed him in a chair that resembles an
adult-sized car seat used to immobilize combative inmates.
Williams appeared to be attempting to free himself from the chair,
surrounded by deputies.
One deputy wrapped his arm around Williams' head and chin. Others were
holding his arms and legs as Deputy Michael Mustachio applied the Taser
to his chest.
One deputy commands Williams to stop resisting.
"Do you want another one?" Mustachio said, referring to the stun gun.
Within one minute, Williams was shocked a total of five times.
His handcuffs were not removed until after he lost consciousness.
Once it was clear that Williams was unconscious, deputies began to
administer aid. Someone called for an ambulance.
Williams never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead two days
Gwinnett police Detective Steve Shaw investigated the incident and
concluded that deputies did not violate the Sheriff's Department policy
or any laws.
Several years ago, Mr. Branson, the
founder of J.A.I.L., was tasered three intervals by L.A.P.D. for a
constant thirty seconds each interval (which
LAPD admits), while Ron was locked up behind bars, for refusing to give
up his rights guaranteed by the Constitution when officers demanded that
he undress himself naked before them for a strip search. (At no time
was the warrantless arrest examined for probable cause.) After each
interval, Ron was asked if he "now submits" to which he responded each
time that he stands on his constitutional rights. It's nothing short of a
miracle that Ron lived through that minute and a half of
electrical torture which was considered within department
policy and done with impunity! And this policy will continue until the
People put an end to rule by "policy" and enforce the Rule of
When Mr. Branson was brought out of the
cell six days later for so-called
"arraignment," never having had a probable
cause determination for the arrest as guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment,
the first words out of the mouth of the court Commissioner
--not a judge-- was "I hear you gave the police a hard time!"
Standing upon one's God-given unalienable rights is interpreted as
"giving the police a hard time."
When J.A.I.L. becomes law, we should see
an end to this, and other barbaric police policies that are
routinely covered up by the judiciary. A judiciary accountable to the
People will make a difference!
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