Footage shows Iowa sheriff’s deputies Tasing man at least 15 times before he died
Records released by the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation (DCI) show sheriff’s officials hitting a 39-year-old man with Tasers at least 15 times before he died during a domestic violence incident last year, the Des Moines Register reported.
Officials released the footage of Michael Zubrod’s death as part of a settlement with the Register. Worth County sheriff’s deputies were responding to calls saying Zubrod had attacked his girlfriend, 48-year-old Rhonda Schukei, with a hammer and scissors on Sept. 22, 2013. The two videos released do not show the moments leading up to the use of the Tasers, but Zubrod can be seen on the ground on his back while being ordered to “roll over.” When Zubrod does not comply, the deputies use their stun guns.
Deputies noticed Zubrod was not breathing after handcuffing his legs and feet, and took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The footage does not show a pair of pliers that Zubrod allegedly used to hit Deputy Isaac Short. The DCI did not mention that altercation in a statement released five days after Zubrod’s death, then mentioned in an Oct. 31 follow-up statement that Zubrod “approached” Short with the pliers, without mentioning that Short was hit with them. The department did not mention Short being hit with the pliers until this past February, a statement it reiterated in the records released to the Register.
Zubrod’s death was ruled a homicide by a state medical examiner in December 2013, with the cause listed as “cardiac arrhythmia following an altercation with law enforcement in the setting of acute methamphetamine intoxication.” According to the Register, Zubrod’s family believes the Tasers contributed to his death.
“I don’t know what to say. I just don’t,” Zubrod’s mother, Cheri Zubrod, was quoted as saying. “I have to do some serious thinking about this. Even with finally having this information, nothing is easy.”
Schukei required two facial reconstructive surgeries and two surgeries on her brain following the attack. She told the Mason City Globe Gazette that she lost her sense of smell and developed double vision, and blamed the incident on Zubrod’s schizophrenia, saying he had never behaved violently toward her during their eight-year relationship. She also credited the deputies with saving her life.
“This shouldn’t have happened to me and Mike shouldn’t be dead,” Schukei told the Gazette. “I hope he’s at peace now.”
Watch the footage, as posted by the Register, below.
[Image by Christopher Paul via Flickr Creative Commons]