Darryl Wayne Turner, a 17-year-old Charlotte, North Carolina teenager, died on Friday after police shocked him with a Taser. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police had been called to a local Food Lion store where the teenager worked as a bagger and a cashier.
The police say that Turner appeared agitated and threw something at a manager. Police Officer Jerry Dawson Jr. reportedly used a Taser gun to apprehend Turner.
He became unresponsive after being shocked by the gun. Turner was later pronounced dead at Carolinas Medical Center-University. According to the Medical Examiner’s office, preliminary autopsy results found no obvious cause of death.
No details about how many times Turner was shocked or whether he was armed at the time of the confrontation were available on Friday because many administrators were off for the Easter weekend.
Turner’s death is the first Taser-related fatality involving the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. The teenager had no previous criminal record.
The use of Tasers by law enforcement officers throughout the US has become an issue—as more and more cops use the electrical current-shocking device to temporarily stun people. Although Tasers are popular because many people believe that the device can cause less harm to a suspect than a gun or baton, there have been reports of injuries or death resulting from Taser use. There also have been reported incidents of police allegedly using the stun guns without proper provocation.
Over 7,000 US police officers are armed with Tasers. Even though a recent Forest University School of Medicine study found that these stun guns are generally safe for use, Amnesty International is still asking for more investigations into Taser safety. A 2007 report by the group counted 245 Taser-related deaths in the US—many because of cardiac arrest.
If you or someone you love was seriously injured because of what you believe was excessive or unnecessary force on the part of a law enforcement officer, you may be able to file a police brutality claim or lawsuit. Our North Carolina personal injury law firm would like to offer you a free consultation to discuss your legal options.
Teen dies after Taser strike, MyrtleBeachOnline.com, March 22, 2008
Charlotte Detectives Continue Investigation Into Teen’s Death Being Hit With A Taser, WSOCtv.com, March 21, 2008
Are Tasers safe?, CNN.com, October 8, 2007
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