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Posted at 6:38 AM ET, 04/30/2010

Va. man dies after Taser shock

By Mike McPhate

This story was updated at 7:35 a.m.

apartment
Apartment complex where man died after a struggle with police in Arlington. (Gerald Martineau/Post)
An Arlington man who was apparently in psychiatric distress died early Friday after a police officer used a Taser in an attempt to subdue him, police said.

It was the second death in an incident involving a Taser in the county this year.

Lt. William Griffith, an Arlington County police spokesman, said officers and medics were called to an apartment building in the 5500 block of Columbia Pike about 12:30 a.m. for a "psychiatric emergency."

They found a man who was "unclothed and uncooperative . . . He refused all verbal commands and was combative with the officers attempting to assist him," Griffith said.

"A few minutes after" an officer deployed a Taser device to try and bring the man under control, Griffith said, police saw that the man did not appear to be breathing. Medics began trying to resuscitate him, and transported him to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police are investigating the incident, Griffith said. Detectives remained at the scene of the apartment for several hours overnight, taking photographs and collecting evidence.

The death bore some similarities to a confrontation in January on the Pentagon City Metro platform between a 36-year-old District man and Arlington officers.

In that case, William R. Bumbrey III, allegedly became aggressive when an officer approached him to question him about a recent theft from a nearby pharmacy. Police said the officer used his Taser, which administers an electric jolt and is designed to be safer than a firearm.

Bumbrey continued to struggle, police said at the time, but eventually was restrained and handcuffed. Soon after, officers saw that Bumbrey was in medical distress. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.

At the time, Detective Crystal Nosal, another county police spokeswoman, said Bumbrey was the first person to die in Arlington after an incident involving police use of a Taser. The devices have been in the department's arsenal since 2004, and police said they use them, on average, fewer than 20 times each year.
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Griffith said there have been other incidents in 2010 in which Tasers were used successfully.

-- Debbi Wilgoren

By Mike McPhate  | April 30, 2010; 6:38 AM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety, Virginia  
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Comments

"... police said they use them, on average, fewer than 20 times each year."

2 deaths out of less than 20 uses in a year. That means on average 10% of the people tasered die. This is not country or area wide this is just in Arlington county.

Any other piece of equipment that causes the deaths of 10% of the people who use it would have been taken off the market.

Posted by: Jimof1913 | April 30, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I assume 20 operational uses however each officer trained on the system are themselves tased as part of the training. If there were health issues I doubt officers would be willing to go thru the training.

Posted by: pete26 | April 30, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

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