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Posted on Sat, Aug 21, 2010 : 1 p.m.

Superior Township man dies shortly after he was Tasered in struggle with police

By Lee Higgins

A Superior Township man being investigated by the county's undercover narcotics task force died Friday shortly after he was Tasered in a struggle with officers, Washtenaw County sheriff's officials said this morning.

The incident occurred on Heather Drive in the MacArthur Boulevard neighborhood at about 5:15 p.m. after officers from the Livingston and Washtenaw Narcotics Enforcement Team requested assistance from Washtenaw County sheriff's deputies, Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton said.

At some point, a deputy deployed a Taser due to the man's "resistant behavior," Clayton said. The suspect was assessed, per protocol, and his vitals appeared fine, Clayton said.


This Google map shows the neighborhood where the incident occurred.

Google map

He was transported to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Clayton said. Clayton said he only had initial information this morning and was awaiting further details.

The man was in his 30s, and police have not released his name. Sheriff's spokesman Derrick Jackson said he didn't know whether the man was "drive stunned" directly with the Taser or shot with Taser probes.

"There was a valid reason to arrest him," Jackson said. "The situation escalated, and the Taser was deployed."

Jackson said he did not have specifics on the nature of the investigation or other arrests that he said were made. 

The deputy has been placed on administrative leave as Michigan State Police investigate, Jackson said. Michigan State Police Inspector Garth Burnside said this morning that it's too early in the investigation to make any comment.

Michigan State Detective Sgt. Robert Weimer of the Metro South Post issued a statement this afternoon saying the agency is investigating the death, but the statement contained few new details.

"The investigation involves the death of an Ypsilanti man that occurred at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital," the statement says. "The man was arrested earlier by deputies from the Washtenaw County Sheriffs Office and transported to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital by ambulance. The male subject passed away while at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. The cause of death is not yet known. "

An autopsy has not yet been conducted on the man. Officials at the Washtenaw County Medical Examiner's Office did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment this morning.

Investigators expect to release more details later today.

Jackson, who is the director of community engagement for the Sheriff's Department, said he and other deputies have been talking with residents about any concerns they have about the incident.

"It's tragic and it's deeply concerning to everyone when someone dies," Jackson said. "There will be a transparent process. People can rest assured they will hear from the sheriff directly and they will hear the facts of what happened. Whenever there's an investigation, it can take time."

According to Amnesty International, between 2001 and 2008, 351 people in the United States died after being shocked by police Tasers.

A Taser, considered a less lethal option for police, is an electroshock weapon that uses electrical current to disrupt voluntary control of muscles. The Taser fires two small dart-like electrodes, which stay connected to the main unit when they attach to a person. Tasers also have a “drive stun” capability, where the Taser is held against the person without firing the projectiles, and is intended to cause pain without incapacitating the person. News Director Amalie Nash contributed to this story.



Wed, Nov 24, 2010 : 10:35 a.m.

Any updated news about this story? Autopsy results were said to be released within a week?

Michael Schils

Mon, Sep 13, 2010 : 6:01 p.m.

Sheriff Jerry Clayton's office: "There will be a transparent process. People can rest assured they will hear from the sheriff directly and they will hear the facts of what happened. Whenever there's an investigation, it can take time." It has now been over three weeks and the Sheriff's office still hasn't released a statement of even a minimal set of facts regarding what happened. Was Stanley Jackson being put under arrest? Was there a search warrant? Was he armed? Are there any recordings of the incident? Instead, we only have Sheriff Clayton saying "No comment" to any specific questions of fact. Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.


Tue, Aug 24, 2010 : 10:02 p.m.

Hey Rice, What constitutes "resisting arrest"? You obviously are speaking from a position of assumed authority with no specificity. Fact is "resisting arrest" is a catch all for cops with an attitude. Asking to see that "warrant" as you have a right can constitute resisting arrest in a cops mind. You need to experience the "bad" cop syndrome and then talk to me.

Doug Orton

Tue, Aug 24, 2010 : 9:18 a.m.

Another taser death, regardless of the charges against the man, it is overkill. We really need to have an investigation into the amount of deaths, by the hands of police officers using tasers, nation wide. They may be a more non-lethal method, however, the deaths that do occur are completely unnecessary. If this was a carded patient, you, the LAWNET enforcers, can expect a storm of protest from the medical community. Then you'll pay this mans family from the coffers of the cities who were represented. Shame on you!


Sun, Aug 22, 2010 : 10:02 a.m.

@Bear First of all each of your statements only continue to illustrate your lack of knowledge on the subject matter at hand. No legitimate gun owner would "shoot to wound" only those who get their facts from TV shows and the movies would even consider it. We gun owners understand that any use of a gun, even just "brandishing" is considered a LETHAL use of force and legally must be justified as same. By your logic, just because aspirin can be taken in dangerous and life threatening amounts then it too should be considered a lethal weapon. The logic is the epitome of the word farce. Also by your logic, ANY response from the police, beginning with showing up, through to putting hands on for any reason including cuffing can also be considered lethal. So the logical conclusion would be to not have police in the first place. Sorry but the more reasonable thought from the information given would be to place the blame squarely upon people who do not understand the 3 rules I posted earlier. After all we are not seeing New Orleans PD post Katrina style abuses here. We have men and women doing their jobs according to de


Sun, Aug 22, 2010 : 9:32 a.m.

@Bear "That is my point and argument. It shouldn't be condoned for use in situations where a severe level of force is uncalled for." When your life is on the line YOU can make that decision! Until then I suggest the ones who's lives ARE on the line need to make the decision!


Sun, Aug 22, 2010 : 5:55 a.m.

BTW, ricebrnr, if I shot someone with a pistol in the leg, I guess you could call that less than lethal. But a pistol can still cause death, so it is a lethal weapon. Deployed appropriately? What a farcical use of semantics to justify a weapon that can be lethal. All bullet wounds aren't lethal, but anything that fires a bullet is considered a lethal weapon. This ain't rocket science. The fact remains that tasers are overused and abused because somebody got an idea that they aren't considered 'lethal force'. if it can cause death, it should be considered lethal force. That is my point and argument. It shouldn't be condoned for use in situations where a severe level of force is uncalled for. Bottom line, there is no such thing as 'less than lethal'. It either is, or it isn't lethal.


Sun, Aug 22, 2010 : 5:41 a.m.

riceburner, less than lethal is a messed up statement in the first place. Either something is lethal or it isn't. Less than lethal carries within it the idea that it is NOT lethal. Word games used by manufacturers mean little to nothing. And "they" are law enforcement agencies who promulgate the use of tasers. To me, a taser is nothing more than a PR weapon of choice. One couldn't get away with shooting an unarmed perp with a pistol, but you sure can with a taser. Less than lethal, what a joke, it would actually be funny if it weren't so deadly serious an issue.


Sat, Aug 21, 2010 : 8:39 p.m.

@Bear "They say Tasering is non-lethal. Well that apparently is a lie." Who is "they"? Because all law enforcement and those who actually have some expertise in the subject actually say that it is LESS THAN lethal. Meaning that deployed appropriately the chances of death are low NOT non existent.


Sat, Aug 21, 2010 : 8:17 p.m.

Lee or Paula; Reading this article I first notice you indicate "He was transported to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, where he was pronounced dead". Continuing to read I see "The man was arrested EARLIER by deputies from the Washtenaw County Sheriffs Office and transported to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital by ambulance. The male subject passed away while at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. The cause of death is not yet known". Which is it? From your reporting I can't conclude if he in fact was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital, or had been arrested, admitted and passed away from some other (yet unknown) reason) some time (how long-hours?) after his admittance.


Sat, Aug 21, 2010 : 6:26 p.m.

A taser is a shock to the body and if this was aimed at the heart? I would be dead, Yes a heart is a muscle. And my body organs are fifteen years older then what my age is. Go to your Doctor an do the test and fine old your organs really are. This could come to be a dirty mess. Hope he has good Family members to follow up on the issue.

Sandy Castle

Sat, Aug 21, 2010 : 6:21 p.m.

I agree with Kent2525's statement, "Find something better to disable people with." There's obviously too many questions about the safety of tasers. Let's go back to what we know works. Guns. I bet it would discourage the criminals from resisting arrest, too.


Sat, Aug 21, 2010 : 6:19 p.m.

another Taser murder. end of story. next. And Andy, why not just shoot him? Would that have been justified under the circumstances? They say Tasering is non-lethal. Well that apparently is a lie.


Sat, Aug 21, 2010 : 6:13 p.m.

Glad this has been posted. My friend was at the ER too. Said the place was crawling with police and the rumors were just flying. Now I know what really went down and I will be sure to tell her.


Sat, Aug 21, 2010 : 5:57 p.m.

Here are a few YouTube videos showing how easy it is to get tasered, including an 11 year old, a 14 year old, and a man carrying his newborn. The common denominator is cops using tasers to punish uncooperative people not as an alternative to using lethal force. It is also common in these clips for subjects to be tasered multiple times even though the manufacturer warns that mulitple shocks greatly increases the likelihood of death.


Sat, Aug 21, 2010 : 5:01 p.m.

Here are a few of the news stories published in 2010 describing deaths by taser. It sounds pretty dangerous to me.


Sat, Aug 21, 2010 : 4:34 p.m.

Sad story because I'm sure no one intended for him to get an instant death sentence, whether guilty or innocent of a drug crime. Not only is it a tragedy for the man's family, but for the police department and for the community. The initial report is lacking in facts, understandably. We need to wait and hear what is reported. I do hope that they begin asking for another department to investigate though. Just my own feeling that people will accept results a lot better when they come from an independent agency. I'm not making accusations at all, just that self-investigating can lead to more suspicion.


Sat, Aug 21, 2010 : 4:24 p.m.

Paula........ Victim? Why do you chose that term? How about suspect or deceased? Seems someone else may have already jumped to conclusions.


Sat, Aug 21, 2010 : 1:47 p.m.

@d_a2- The story said that the person was being investigated by LAWNET and they asked for assistance from a Deputy Sheriff. The story did not say he was being arrested. If you look at a story about a UM police officer that was investigated by LAWNET and arrested by an Ypsilanti Police officer; you will see that LAWNET sometimes tracks a suspect with a GPS tracking device (no warrant needed) until they see that they are leaving a house where they are suspected of buying drugs and then asks a marked police car to stop the car and search for drugs. At that point, no drugs have yet been found and the suspect is not under arrest. The suspect could have been resisting having his car searched not resisted arrest. Thus you are making assumptions.

Fat Bill

Sat, Aug 21, 2010 : 1:43 p.m.

Let's say you may have some underlying physical problems, and you are (allegedly) involved in criminal activity. You are in the process of being busted, usually a pretty big deal. Your fight or flight reflexes kick in over good judgement, and the sympathetic response kicks in, releasing a bunch of adrenaline and working your heart exceptionally hard... Suspects have died after fighting with police with or without being tased, and lets's not forget how resistors were subdued in the old days. The old PR-24 (or 4-cell Mag-light) to the back of the head worked, but had the unfortunate side effect of causing concussions, closed head injuries, paralysis, and death. I also must agree with Ricebrnr on this one...


Sat, Aug 21, 2010 : 1:32 p.m.

This puts a new light on a previous story in "Ypsilanti High School student who was Tasered faces felony charge" "I deployed the Taser to chest areaas I have been trained to do, the report said. "(Price) turned and fell to the ground. Once he fell to the ground, I immediately turned the Taser off" However; "According to the report, the probes of the Taser X26 didn't penetrate the student's skin, but lodged in the back of his T-shirt". Thus he was shot in the back and therefore must have been going away from the officer. In fact many of the deaths or serious injuries caused by tasers are the result of the fall, so the officer must take that into consideration when choosing to use a taser. It would be very helpful for the public to know the policies and training of officers regarding the use of tasers but the police claim that their "use of force" policies are secret and not available through freedom of information requests. The current story shows that using a taser can be lethal. How can we justify shooting a 17 year old student with a taser when he is fleeing? (they knew who the student was so they could easily have let him flee and arrested him later). Sheriff Jerry Clayton is a very good guy but I hope he does not fall victim to the temptation to keep this kind of investigation secret.


Sat, Aug 21, 2010 : 1:25 p.m.

@paula gardner. They are not assumptions. Your papers story stated that LAWNET was there (obviously for a narcotics bust) hence he is commiting some sort of a crime (not an assumption there). He resisted and got tasered as the story states which is also not an assumption. Obviously if he hadn't resisted he wouldn't have been tasered (not an assumption as well).

David Cahill

Sat, Aug 21, 2010 : 1:13 p.m.

I'm glad the comments have been re-opened. I will wait to see what's reporter, and Sheriff Clayton himself, have to say.

Macabre Sunset

Sat, Aug 21, 2010 : 1:09 p.m.

One question: Has there been a national task force or study group that has assessed, for the purpose of use in defense (or prosecution) of lawsuits, what proper police procedure is when a suspected criminal resists arrest? If the answer is "use a taser - it has the lowest death rate," then that would be very useful information for police departments.


Sat, Aug 21, 2010 : 12:33 p.m.

"A Taser, considered a less lethal option for police, is an electroshock weapon that uses electrical current to disrupt voluntary control of muscles". Here lies the problem with tazers, the Heart is a muscle. When shot with a tazer you loose control of your muscles, and again I say the HEART is a muscle that requires electric impulses from the brain, which a Tazer disrupts. Find something better to disable people with. Look on youtube at all the tazer videos of cops shooting tazers into older women like your mother, and tell me you still want a cop to tazer your 80 year old mom for being mad at getting a ticket. Would you want your grandfather or grandmother tazered. Dont say my grandmother would not be in that situation, anything can happen.


Sat, Aug 21, 2010 : 10:29 a.m.

Gotta agree totally with Ricebrnr on this one.


Sat, Aug 21, 2010 : 10:25 a.m.

1) LESS THAN lethal is not the same as NON lethal. Being pepper sprayed, tackled by several officers for resisting arrest, being hit by batons to gain compliance and/or being shot are not necessarily better options for any parties involved. 2) During an arrest or in a confrontation with officers is NOT the time to debate your civil rights or work out your thoughts on the legality of your arrest. Any physical efforts on your part can and will be construed as resisting and will escalate the confrontation. 3) If you ever think you will be in a situation with police, learn your rights and how YOU should and need to act to protect yourself and fight LATER IN COURT. Beyond that, waiting for more details to come out. 1*


Sat, Aug 21, 2010 : 10:19 a.m.

Oh great, another lawsuit that the taxpayers ultimately have to pay for. Probably makes sense berda to get all the facts before telling his family to sue the police dept. Better to tase him than shoot him dead.


Sat, Aug 21, 2010 : 10:13 a.m.

Tasers don't kill people... people with Tasers kill people. It's about time the police departments of Washtenaw county review their Taser policies to determine if these things are really safe or not.


Sat, Aug 21, 2010 : 9:58 a.m.

"dont tase me bro!" resisting arrest is probably not a good idea especially if you are jacked up on something the department was within their rights to subdue him if they had a warrant or reason for his arrest (which it seems they did)


Sat, Aug 21, 2010 : 9:43 a.m.

somebody is in trouble i dont mean the dead person i hope hisfamily sue the dept