St. Louis Police Taser Deaths
Taser use by police has prompted national debate over officers being equipped with them. Since September 28, 1999, there have been at least 232 North Americans claims of excessive force after being shot by police Tasers. Although no autopsies have proven it to be the cause of death and no civil lawsuits have been won, uniformed citizens still believe this to be them to be related.
The Taser is a "less than lethal" weapon that is designed to incapacitate subjects with 50,000 volts of electricity. Despite the number of Taser-related incidents no deaths have occurred as a direct result, but have been speculated. The manufacturer and law enforcement officials maintain the weapon is safe. Note: A high percentage of officer endure the taser before certification. No deaths have occurred
On May 1, 2009, it was reported in the Post-Dispatch that the St. Louis County Police Department would double it's taser arsenal, putting more of these devices in the hands of officers. This is a direct result to the increase of violent offenders and officer assaults in the St. Louis County area.
The deaths outlined in this article are only those from the St. Louis Metro Area, and do not include those who have been injured by tasers.
James S. Wilson
James S. Wilson, 22, died on May 6, 2008 after allegedly being shocked twice by a St. Charles County Sheriff's Deputy in the parking lot of the Piasa Pantry gas station in West Alton. Wilson's ex-girlfriend, Keosha DeBruce, said that Wilson's mother told her the sheriff's deputy shot him twice with the Taser, once after he was already on the ground. Wilson was shocked in front of his mother and two sisters. Autopsy results are still pending. No direct link to the taser was proven.
Roger D. Holyfield
Roger D. Holyfield, 17, died on October 30, 2006, after he was shot with a Taser as he walked down a Jerseyville street yelling, "I want Jesus." The cause of Holyfield's death was ruled as "hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy," a condition that blocked oxygen from his brain. No direct link to the taser was proven.
Nick Mamino Jr.
Nick Mamino Jr., 41, died on April 15, 2006, at a hospital about 10 hours after fighting with six police officers in Collinsville. An autopsy later showed that the contributing factor in his death was heart disease. Mamino also was high on cocaine. According to the autopsy, the main cause of Mamino's death was ruled as "positional asphyxiation due to hog-tying during a cocaine-induced delirium." No direct link to the taser was proven.
Lyle L. Nelson
Lyle L. Nelson, 35, died on December 16, 2004, after scuffling with police in his home in Columbia, Illinois. A Columbia police officer fired his Taser eight times at Nelson, who died about five hours later at the Monroe County Jail in Waterloo. The official autopsy later determined Nelson died from a "cocaine overdose" No direct link to the taser was proven.
Ernest Blackwell, 29, a former University of Missouri football player, died on August 12, 2004, after being shot twice with a Taser in St. Louis County. Police tried to subdue him after he shot his stepdaughter with a shotgun and beat a teenage girl and her mother. A coroner concluded that he died as a result of "agitated delirium." No direct link to the taser was proven.
Terry Williams, 45, died in March 2004 when he resisted arrest and was shot with a Taser twice by Madison police. The official autopsy claims that alcohol and agitation contributed to the death, but not the use of the Taser. No direct link to the taser was proven.