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Posted on Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 2:55 p.m.

Deputies cleared in investigation of Tasering death in Superior Township

By Lee Higgins

Washtenaw County prosecutors found no evidence that county sheriff's deputies violated the law or used excessive force when they used a Taser during a drug bust on a man who later died.

An autopsy found the death of 31-year-old Stanley Jackson Jr. of Belleville was caused by sudden cardiac arrest and Tasering, but prosecutors say they found no wrongdoing by deputies or emergency medical personnel after they reviewed a Michigan State Police investigation of the case.


Police officers talk to the family members of Stanley Jackson Jr. the day after he died.

Angela J. Cesere |

Sheriff’s Department spokesman Derrick Jackson said an internal investigation continues to determine whether deputies violated policies or procedures. Stanley Jackson died at 6:20 p.m. Aug. 20 at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, roughly 95 minutes after being Tasered three times inside his mother's Superior Township home, an autopsy report says.

According to a Jan. 6 memo from Chief Assistant Prosecutor Joe Burke to Prosecutor Brian Mackie, Deputy Sean Urban acted appropriately when he chased and subdued Jackson after an undercover officer reportedly witnessed Jackson sell drugs to people.

The undercover officer, working for the Livingston and Washtenaw Narcotics Enforcement Team, was in an unmarked car when he saw the transactions outside the home on Heather Drive and requested assistance from uniformed deputies.

Deputy Urban drove up in a marked car and got out. Jackson saw Urban and the undercover officer and ran, grabbing at his waistband, the memo says. Urban chased Jackson inside and shot him in the upper body with a Taser gun, the memo says, prompting Jackson to fall to the floor. Deputy Tom Mercure was next inside, followed by Deputy Holly Farmer and Deputy Dean Reich.

Stunned from the effects of the Taser, Jackson was on his back with his arms tensed in front as deputies attempted to handcuff him, the memo says. Jackson, who was roughly 6 feet tall and 275 pounds, was "salivating, had his jaws clenched and was staring," according to the memo.

As the effects of the Taser wore off, Jackson became "loud, agitated and aggressive" and attempted to get up despite officers' commands to stay down. Deputy Farmer was holding onto Jackson when he leaned forward with his "mouth open and teeth bared," as if he was going to bite her, the memo says.

Farmer punched Jackson in the jaw and told him not to bite. He continued to attempt to move his hands toward the front of his waistband, when Urban put the Taser against Jackson's body and Tasered him again. It's unclear whether Jackson was Tasered a third time by Mercure, the memo says.

Officers searched Jackson and found a plastic bag tucked in his waistband that contained a white substance. They also saw bags of marijuana on a kitchen table, the memo says.

When EMS technicians arrived, Jackson was spitting, so they put an oxygen mask on his face and strapped him to a stretcher. Officials say they were unable to check his vital signs because Jackson was being combative and struggled on the way to the hospital.

Because he was being belligerent and combative at the emergency room, he was sedated with a dose of Lorazepam and shortly thereafter was in respiratory distress, the memo says.

Jackson, who had a GPS device attached to his ankle, was on probation for a drug conviction and was already facing drug charges unrelated to the bust. Officers initiated the investigation after receiving complaints from residents, police said.

Jackson's mother, Pearlie Jackson, could not be reached for comment today.

Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for He can be reached by phone at (734) 623-2527 and email at



Mon, Jan 31, 2011 : 2:50 p.m.

in my view actions and behavior have consequences. Review, sure. But it says a lot to me that in this neighborhood, this arrest was initiated based on a complaint from someone there.


Sun, Jan 30, 2011 : 11:26 p.m.

In my view anytime a citizen is harmed by a public servant, the incident is serious and must be reviewed by a citizen panel in addition to the local officials. This is an essential element of a democracy and should never be relinquished by the public.

Michael Schils

Sun, Jan 30, 2011 : 4:35 p.m.

The headline seems to conflict with the part of the article which states that "an internal investigation continues to determine whether deputies violated policies or procedures." So how have the deputies been cleared of anything when the question of whether or not they violated policies or procedures has not yet been determined? Is it consistent with policy to repeatedly taser a handcuffed suspect? How exactly was it "unclear whether Jackson was Tasered a third time by Mercure"? Don't the devices record how many times they have been deployed? It would be most helpful if A2com would publish the prosecutors' memo and the relevant Washtenaw County policies and procedures.

Michael Schils

Mon, Jan 31, 2011 : 4:45 p.m.

Thanks for the info. Wow. It would seem that the public's interest in knowing the policies that guide the actions of Law Enforcement would far outweigh all other interests, but apparently such transparency from our public servants was not given the consideration it deserves. It strikes me as odd that Deputy Farmer's initial reaction to what she reportedly perceived as an attempt to bite her, was to punch the suspect in the jaw. It would have seemed that her first reaction would have been to remove herself from the vicinity of the threatening source rather than place her hand closer to it. The article above avoids to mention at what point exactly the handcuffs were placed on the suspect. A significant omission indeed. I'm sure the State Police investigation must have included this important fact.


Sun, Jan 30, 2011 : 9:01 p.m.

The "Use of Force" policies and procedures are considered exempt from freedom of information requests because they will supposedly reveal the strategy and tactics of law enforcement. The Officers were cleared of criminal responsibility, although the FBI could step in if they so choose. The question of whether they violated the "Use of Force" policy will still be up to Sheriff Clayton.


Sun, Jan 30, 2011 : 2:51 p.m.

Glad to see that has posted an article that actually clears the officers after the original article. It's a shame that this doesn't happen for others who are publicly flogged by comments in articles that ruin their reputations.


Sun, Jan 30, 2011 : 8:57 p.m. did not clear the officers. They were cleared by the County Prosecutor's Office after an investigation by the State Police. Wait a while longer before you conclude them cleared.


Sun, Jan 30, 2011 : 1:20 a.m.

Just happy that the deputies were cleared, and back on the job protecting citizens. Good Job WCSD!


Sat, Jan 29, 2011 : 5:42 p.m.

@Robert, all due respect, like the vast majority of people here in Washtenaw county, my 27 year old son would not be that way with the police. Further, he wouldn't be selling drugs out of our garage. And he sure as heck wouldn't be doing so while on probation for a similar crime. Nor would he have been such a menace to his neighbors that they chose to turn him in. Like some of the commentators here, I have friends in the neighborhood. Not a good place to be (or be stuck).


Sat, Jan 29, 2011 : 5:21 p.m.

another victim of the war on drugs RIP when will we learn that it is an insane corrupt cruel counter-productive policy based in a zealous interpretation of judeo-christian values that it is highly profitable for those on both sides of the conflict who perpetuate these policies. that it is based on lies and limited research THAT IT KILLS PEOPLE EVERYDAY that many are innocent bystanders that it is destroying our nation with an over reliance on raw material better sourced from HEMP that it affects the very health of our citizens as we over rely on pharmaceuticals (FDA/DEA APPROVED) I am sure LAWNET regrets his death as he seems to have been one of those poor souls, proffered no help when it could have done some good who justified the existence of LAWNET. Now they have to find some one else to hound down. Then the Feds will send them more money.


Sat, Jan 29, 2011 : 4:01 p.m.

trespass, how do you expect to possibly intubate and ventilate someone thrashing about? And yes, I'm SURE he was agitated only because his lungs had fluid in them,,,,,,really?

Richard C

Sat, Jan 29, 2011 : 3:44 p.m.

This article indicates that the EMS technicians were unable to determine Jackson's vital signs because he was so combative. What can the the EMS or ER staff do with someone who is too combative to determine even such minimal assessments but appears to be in need of treatment but take a risk of some sort - either withholding treatment until the person stops resisting or administering some kind of sedative? @trespass - where did you get the information about the autopsy? Is it public information? Is it online? Do you have an URL for it?


Sat, Jan 29, 2011 : 3:56 p.m.

I obtainned the autopsy and the prosecutor's memo through a Freedom of Information Request. It is public information but it is not posted anywhere. Perhaps will post it.


Sat, Jan 29, 2011 : 3:36 p.m.

After working in a hospital for nearly 24 years, including ER and ICU settings, I can certainly see why this person was being sedated ( or attempting to ). The size and strength of this individual was a threat to the emergency room personnel. He was out of control, and caring for this individual is simply impossible under these circumstances. After myself being kicked, and punched by patients like this, it is clear to me that there is no other way to approach this situation. Sedation is the ONLY way to calm him at this point. There is no way to effectively treat a person in this state. How do you expect a physician to "listen to his lungs" when he's thrashing about and attempting to swing and kick his way out? He was a threat to the same people that are attempting to help him! Do you think he'll hold still for an xray, or for a doc to "listen"? Come on, people. Sometimes the patient we are trying to assist has already dug himself in so deep, there's only so much we can do!


Sat, Jan 29, 2011 : 3:48 p.m.

I have worked in ERs as well and I know you don't sedate someone until you assess them. Agitation is also a sign of hypoxia. He was agitated for a reason, which in retrospect was because his lungs were filling with fluid. According to the report he was strapped to the gurney.


Sat, Jan 29, 2011 : 3:03 p.m.

He was a good boy... An entrepreneur; why he was up for salesman of the year for out selling the ACME vacuum guy. Such a shame.

Richard C

Sat, Jan 29, 2011 : 3:45 p.m.

And all entrepreneurs need a tax break too!

Matt Cooper

Sat, Jan 29, 2011 : 4:35 a.m.

Correction: I should have said Tasers have been tested widely and shown to have no effect on the polarity of the heart so long as they are not deployed in the chest over the heart. Mr. Jacksons Tasering, as I understand it, was not anywhere near the heart.


Sat, Jan 29, 2011 : 11:15 a.m.

There were two sets of punctures from taser darts noted in the autopsy. One was in the lower right abdomen and the other was in the upper back around or between the shoulder blades. That one is close to the heart.

Rob Moody

Sat, Jan 29, 2011 : 4:32 a.m.

It's nice that so many people can Monday Morning Quarterback the Deputies involved. It must be nice to sit back in your Lazyboy and critique the Deputies while you have no idea as to how you yourself would react in the same situation. Kudos to Deputy Urban and Mercure and all other Deputies involved for doing a fine job. And for all of you Quarterbacks who think that there is a better way to deal with these guys who run, fight, kick, bite or simply refuse to obey lawful requests then may I suggest you invent some type of new NON - LETHAL weapon cause you would be a millionare. Every Department in this world would buy your product. Good Luck with that all you self proclaimed geniuses

Matt Cooper

Sat, Jan 29, 2011 : 4:27 a.m.

trespass: Cardiogenic shock is not caused by Tasering. It's caused most often by massive myocardial infarct due to stenosis, aortic dissection, cardiomyopathy and other causes that have little if anything to do with electrical overload such as people claim is brought about by Tasering. Tasers have been tested widely and shown to have no effect on the polarity of the heart, so that argument is kind of out the window.


Sat, Jan 29, 2011 : 12:02 p.m.

The autopsy ruled out coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction and aortic dissection. The current theory about how tasers kill is that they cause a massive outpouring of andrenaline that has been shown in animals to cause damage to heart muscle, which is thought to lead to heart failure or possibly to arrythmias. That is what the autopsy says killed Mr. Jackson. The struggle and other factors may also have contributed to the adrenaline surge. It is not a bad theory but I think the Medical Examiner overtated the certainty of this cause of death.


Sat, Jan 29, 2011 : 2:44 a.m.

Most police officers are highly trained, which includes how to make fast, tough decisions while under pressure. Most hospital staff members are highly trained, which includes how to make fast, tough decisions while under pressure. Most criminals think they will never get caught, so they never "train" themselves to make good decisions while under pressure. It is unfortunate that he was a criminal and that he died. @LXIX - Legalize and regulate drugs? Considering that perscription drug abuse is pretty out of control, how do you figure that legalizing heroin, crack, etc. would have made this situation better? Or did you just mean marijuana should be legalized? Just curious.


Sat, Jan 29, 2011 : 1:53 a.m.

@Nephilim - My suggestions. 1. Train officers to use tasers as if they were 'mini-caliber' weapons. 2. Unless absolutely warranted, use taser force only once per medium body. 3. Maybe hoods could be issued as standard restraint/blinding articles? 4. Do not rush a staked drug-bust without sufficient man-power. At his house? 5. Communicate to hospital ER that an incoming drug subject has been tasered. 6. Train ER medical staff to correctly identify and deal with taser symptoms. 7. Put more force emphasis towards the pursuit of physical crimes such as murder, assault, torture, rape, armed robbery. Legalize and regulate Drugs.


Sun, Jan 30, 2011 : 1:55 p.m.

1. They are. Most actually are forced to receive a taser in their training 2. This was a 6 foot, 275 pound man. Hardly "average". 3. So what happens once the first person resisting arrest suffocates from the hood? 4. So I suppose if a crime ids going on the police should only do anything once there are enough there? I guess when there is a rape or murder in progress the police should call for back up. Wait until they get there before stopping the crime from happening 5. It was communicated, and always is 6. Training of ER staff is not a police issue, so should not be pat of the discussion. I would prefer DOCTORS train medical staff, not the police 7. I would prefer the legalization of drugs as well, but with them being illegal currently, I do want police to regulate drugs with the current situation. Because drugs are illegal, there are many other crimes associated with them. Those are issues to take up with your legislators, NOT THE POLICE.


Sat, Jan 29, 2011 : 2:27 a.m.

Lxix, Very good and well thought out. RE: 1: i think the understanding of what these instruments will do by the officers since each one had to get shot with it to be able to carry it. I think the real issue is this: it is used as a reckoning tool. A very effective one at that. I will guarantee prior to the advent of tasers there were way more injuries to suspects and officers in confrontations.. 2: what would warrant a second, third or fourth deployment? Suspect size? Officer size? Suspect resistance? Officer age? 3: spit socks are standard issue in every scout car in Ann arbor... 4: what constitutes sufficient personell. 4 deputies and an undercover officer? 5: this is standard relayed information to paramedics if transported by same. 6: cant comment on this one. 7: unfortunately most of the listed part 1 crimes inn your post can be traced back to narcotics trafficking and or using. Which drugs do we legalize and regulate? Right now the most abused schedule drugs are prescription drugs. More so than any other. And for the record, I am NOT talking marijuana. Do we legalize heroin? Cocaine? Have anyone you actually seen up close and personal what these two drugs do to people? I honestly don't think there is an easy solution at all. And I am by no means a moral high grounder.


Sat, Jan 29, 2011 : 12:36 a.m.

A very reasonable and positive outcome for the officers and the law abiding public !


Sat, Jan 29, 2011 : 12:32 a.m.

I don't understand all the immediate hostility toward officers of the law who were trying under difficult circumstances to subdue a violent criminal, and almost no pointing out that he was selling illegal substances and was defiant towards those officers. It is, of course, horrible when someone dies, but the criminal is not without blame here.


Sat, Jan 29, 2011 : 1:05 a.m.

No one is saying that Mr. Jackson is without blame but the officers have a responsibility for the safety of their prisoners and that means they should use only the force necessary to get them under control. In this case the second, third and fourth taserings were almost certainly unnecessary.


Sat, Jan 29, 2011 : 12:24 a.m.

So any of you got any ideas that could better the outcome in situations like this instead of spreading speculation and conjecture? How about offer up some good alternative plans that would actually solve situations like this from happening? Anybody?????? Anybody???? It's so much easier to sit back and blog about how everybody did everything wrong or too excessive etc etc but no one can offer up any real problem solving ideas to stop things like this.... In a perfect world, how would you like to see the officers respond to such an incident or suspect? Let him go? Not get involved? Not our problems? Its just drugs? Not ever arrest anymore people that resist? Not use a taser but beat him senseless with a baton? How about sap gloves? Come on people lets come up with better solutions for this. How about someone initates a bill that the public can vote on to just totally eliminate all types of drug enforcement..........???????


Sat, Jan 29, 2011 : 1:30 a.m.

You think trespass but ya don't actually know. Thats where the speculating and conjecture come into play. Until you can tell me you were actually there which I "speculate" you were not, how do you know if 1 time or 4 times or 4 deputies or any combination thereof was enough? You just don't know plain and simple. Thats why I ask you refer to my original post. You gave me a statement of conjecture again, not a suggestion for a future incident such as this. It was definitely a suggestion only based off a past incident.


Sat, Jan 29, 2011 : 1:02 a.m.

How about tasering him once instead of 4 times. By the time he recovered from the first tasering, he was under restraint by 4 deputies and I think he was in handcuffs.


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 11:15 p.m.

Unfortunate. The Federal 9th District Court of Appeals recently ruled that an officer can be held personally liable for the ill-effects of wrongful TASERĀ® use. It is now up to the Supreme Court to say otherwise. The use of tasers should be limited to situations posing &quot;an immediate threat to the officer or a member of the public&quot; and cannot be used in passive situations, such as when a subject disobeys a police command, judge Kim Wardlaw wrote for the court. Significantly, in cases where suspects appear mentally ill, as the officer in this case alleged, police should use tasers even more soberly, the court found. **ref Tasers are now termed &quot;less-lethal&quot; devices rather than &quot;non-lethal&quot;. In other words - Would a restrained person (in a drug-house situation) be shot for attempting to bite an officer or reach for a waistband object? Amnesty International has attributed 334 (+1) deaths to taser use so far. Many occurring from minutes to hours after the fact. Many were due to respiratory failure rather than heart dysrhythmia. Looks like the deputies did their too-tough-a job call but the hospital ER staff could use some more police-case reality training / closer case communication. ** ref <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>$

Matt Cooper

Sat, Jan 29, 2011 : 4:06 a.m.

Too bad you don't think potentially getting bitten by an aggressive and combative suspect &quot;an immediate threat to the officer or a member of the public&quot; . I c ertainly do.

David Briegel

Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 9:30 p.m.

Stefanie, Your timely in thread response is very much appreciated. Thanks

Stefanie Murray

Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 9:11 p.m.

Comments have been removed here that contained statements with unsubstantiated allegations. As the story states, Stanley Jackson Jr.'s death was caused by sudden cardiac arrest and Tasering. There has been no allegation or conviction of a crime in regard to his death.


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 11:10 p.m.

I was thinking the same thing Stefanie

Stefanie Murray

Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 9:22 p.m.

Rusty, your comments were removed because you referred to electrocution and murder. Murder is a deliberate killing, which has not been alleged in this case. Electrocution is not the same as Tasering - two different things.

rusty shackelford

Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 9:13 p.m.

You refer to my comments. I specifically did not make allegations. I said the officers involved should be investigated.


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 9:04 p.m.

@Rusty Shackelford- There were 4 officers and he was tasered four times. The autopsy described punctures from taser darts in the lower abdomen and in the upper back. Then he also had two burn/abrasions on his back from applying the taser directly to his skin (drive stun). Which taser applications were applied before he was handcuffed an which afterward? Perhaps the first taser deployment was justified but were the second, third and fourth?

rusty shackelford

Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 9:11 p.m.

Also, thanks for the correction. is quite hard to follow sometimes. Extremely poorly written on top of everything else.

rusty shackelford

Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 9:10 p.m.

I keep posting a comment that the staff keep deleting for unknown reasons, in effect asking why 4 officers could not restrain someone under taser shock. Either Tasers are highly ineffective, or these officers are highly ineffective, or we ought to seriously doubt the official line.


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 8:35 p.m.

No Lorazepam was found in Mr. Jackson's blood (if there was no Lorazepam in his blood, what was he injected with?). The autopsy said that he died because his heart stopped but made no mention of respiratory distress. The autopsy also failed to mention that his lungs weighed about twice what they should, which meant that he had about a quart of excess fluid in his lungs. That is more consistent with the story that he had respiratory distress. Did a doctor listen to his chest before he ordered sedation? It sounds like he was in cardiogenic shock, which needed mechanical support (such as an itra-aortic balloon pump). It is the Sheriff's Department policy to take someone to the hospital after they have been tasered but does the hospital understand what they should be looking for in a person who has been tasered? These discrepancies don't affect whether or not the officers were at fault but they may call into question the medical care he received and the thoroughness of the autopsy.


Sat, Jan 29, 2011 : 10:56 a.m.

@Mick52- I have read the autopsy report and the prosecutor's memo. There will be more evidence in the case once the state police and the sheriff's office give up the rest of the documents but I assure you the evidence of my statements is already in the autopsy and memo.


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 11:08 p.m.

Where are you getting this info from? &quot;No lorazepam was found in his blood.&quot; &quot;The autopsy made no mention of respiratory distress.&quot; &quot;The autopsy made no mention his lungs weighed about twice what they should have.&quot; Your &quot;discrepancies&quot; make no sense unless you have some evidence to back them up.


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 8:55 p.m.

that's actually the most logical thing I've read so far regarding this incident. Very good point.


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 8:29 p.m.

If the police report is accurate, the only thing the officers did wrong was assume that their tasers were &quot;non-lethal&quot; weapons. Time and again, tasers have proven to be dangerous to human life. We need a new standard &quot;non-lethal&quot; weapon or this will continue to occur and the victims won't always be aggressive and guilty. What if this was your 21 year old son getting tased for non-compliance with officers after a night of celebrating Michigan's first away win over MSU since '97?


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 10:51 p.m.

I tasers were found to be lethal weapons, &quot;time and time again&quot; they would be labeled as such. Time and time again they are not lethal. Please offer us some examples of another standard non lethal weapon that the police could use. If this were my 21 year old son selling drugs on the street and running and fighting the police, I would tell them to tell the county to bury him. This guy was 31.

rusty shackelford

Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 8:26 p.m.

Wow, law enforcement officials find other law enforcement officials did nothing wrong. What a surprise. What I don't understand is why this web site narrates the cops' side of things as if it were the objective truth. This is the copy-and-paste-a-press-release journalism you have perfected taken to a new low. I thought news organizations were supposed to ask tough questions of the people to whom we essentially give carte blanche to kill at will. Call me old fashioned.


Sat, Jan 29, 2011 : 12:03 a.m.

Hey rusty, so tell me, how would you have handled the situation at the scene if you were an officer?


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 10:46 p.m.

Well Rusty why don't you give us a couple of examples of tough questions that you would ask. We have a drug dealer here who resisted arrest. He died at the hospital at the hands of medical personnel not the police, of caridiac arrest. Is it not possible that perhaps his lifestyle choices were an element in his demise? Maybe that would be one of the tough questions.


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 9:20 p.m.

The story is one of a series. I wouldn't judge's coverage until it is completed.


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 8:36 p.m.

The credibility of this report is most definitely suspect. This case wasn't a simple , kid got one shot from a taser either. Excessive force seems to have been at hand.