Crime

Texas Rangers and Collin County DA Investigate Death of Man Tased by Frisco Police

The name of the man who died two weeks after Frisco Police tased him, causing him to fall to the ground and injure his head, has not yet been released.
The name of the man who died two weeks after Frisco Police tased him, causing him to fall to the ground and injure his head, has not yet been released. Michael Förtsch on Unsplash
The Texas Rangers and Collin County District Attorney’s Office are investigating the death of a man who was chased down and tased by Frisco police officers.

According to a Sept. 30 press release from the Frisco Police Department, officers responded to a report about a man who was trying to use a fraudulent ID to buy a car at a local dealership in the 9600 block of State Highway 121. When the officers tried to detain the man, he ran, according to the department. The officers gave chase, telling the man that if he didn’t stop, they would tase him.

The department claims the man didn’t comply, so one of the officers deployed his taser. The shot was ineffective because it didn’t make full contact. That’s when another officer whipped out his taser and zapped the fleeing man. The officer’s shot caused the man to fall and hit his head on the ground. The man was seriously injured by the fall, police said, and the Frisco Fire Department transferred him to a nearby hospital. Despite receiving treatment, he died on Sept. 29.

The Frisco PD’s policies on critical incidents call for an external investigation by the Texas Rangers and Collin County DA’s Office. Both have been investigating the incident since the day it happened.

The department says it can’t comment further because of the ongoing investigation. It said in its press release, “Our thoughts are with all of those affected by this incident, to include officers and family members of the deceased.”

Tasers are just one of many non-lethal weapons police use that have come under scrutiny over the years. There have been stories from across the country about people being tased, falling to the ground and suffering traumatic or fatal brain injuries.

In 2014, an Ohio man won a $2.25 million settlement in a lawsuit against his local police department for brain damage he suffered after cops tased him, causing him to fall and hit his head. Matthew Hook, who was 23 at the time, was fleeing police after he was seen driving a stolen van, according to the Associated Press. An officer tased Hook as he tried to climb a fence to get away. That’s when Hook fell and hit his head, causing brain damage that his family said at the time caused him to become emotionally unstable and require constant medical attention.

A report in the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine in 2016 found that electrical weapons like tasers present “a small but real risk of death from fatal traumatic brain injury.”

“While generally reducing morbidity and mortality, electrical weapons have risks associated with their usage, including eye injuries and falls,” that report says. “With sufficient probe spread, an uncontrolled fall to the ground typically occurs along with the possibility of a fatal brain injury.”

The researchers initially found 24 cases meeting their criteria. They excluded five of those cases because they appeared to involve intentional jumps, instead of accidental falls caused by the use of an electrical weapon. Out of 19 cases, the researchers wrote, “We found 16 probable cases of fatal brain injuries induced by electronic control from electrical weapons.”
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Jacob Vaughn, a former Brookhaven College journalism student, has written for the Observer since 2018, first as clubs editor. More recently, he's been in the news section as a staff writer covering City Hall, the Dallas Police Department and whatever else editors throw his way.
Contact: Jacob Vaughn

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