American police have once against demonstrated that their agenda is not to protect and serve, but to dominate and control by any means necessary. On November 20th, sheriff deputies in Coweta County, Georgia were summoned to help subdue a man having a psychotic breakdown and ended up tasing him to death.
Thirty-two-year-old Chase Sherman, together with his fiancée, Patti Galloway and his parents, Kevin and Mary Ann Sherman, were returning from a vacation. During a layover at the Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta, Chase started having hallucinations and acting agitated. According to his father, he “got nervous … about planes crashing, and he just didn’t feel comfortable on a plane. … He thought nobody recognized him. I said, ‘Chase, we’re fine. We’re going to get a car and drive home.’ He didn’t know where he was at.” So they rented a car to drive the rest of the way to their home in Florida.
Chase’s fiancée told his parents that he may have smoked “Spice”—also known as “synthetic marijuana”—before they had left on the five-day trip, which may have been the cause of the episode.
Chase’s father described what happened next:
“We got him in the car and we took off on I-85. Chase’s fiancée was driving and Chase was lying in the back with me. He had his head on my lap. He acted like he didn’t know where we were going. And then he jumped up and started a disturbance in the car.”
They pulled over, and Chase’s mother dialed 9-1-1, but the father told her to hang up, thinking things were under control. After driving again for a few more minutes, Chase “got more violent,” and they pulled over again and his mother again called 9-1-1.
“We were fighting, screaming, trying to calm him down. It was pretty horrendous in the car,” his father said. “His fiancée jumped back to try to calm him down and she actually got bit. My wife told me just to hit him or something to try to get her arm loose. He let loose of the arm and the officers showed up.”
When the three deputies arrived, “they reached across me trying to get the handcuffs on him. I got out of the car and they told me to go back by the ambulance.” Still in the vehicle, Chase’s mother says she heard one deputy tell Chase, “We’re going to shoot you.” She said, “Don’t shoot him, don’t shoot him,” his father added. The deputy reportedly responded by saying, “I have to protect myself.” Deputies then instructed everyone else to exit the vehicle. During the ensuing struggle, Chase was tased repeatedly. “More officers kept coming and we think they kept tasing him,” Chase’s father said. “They were treating him like a rabid dog.”
During the struggle, the police kept EMTs back, saying the situation was not safe. Chase’s parents maintain that the deputies were never in danger, that their son was not armed, and that if the deputies felt threatened they could have just stepped away and closed the vehicle doors. Instead, the father says, the officers “just went nuts.”
“He was seat-belted in; he couldn’t get out. And they couldn’t just let him be and let him calm down,” the father said, adding, “They treated my son like a piece of meat.”
Eventually, Chase’s fiancée and parents watched as deputies grabbed Chase’s arms and pulled him from the vehicle.
“They dragged him out of the car like a dead dog. His head hit the ground. He was done. There was no movement, no nothing. We were screaming, ‘They killed him.’”
The deputies wouldn’t let the family go to him; then kept the parents and fiancée in a patrol car, keeping them for a time to be interviewed before allowing them to go to the hospital where Chase was being taken. Finally, at the Piedmont Newnan Hospital, when they said who they were there to see, they were led to a room by a security guard. “He said, ‘I’m sorry for your loss,’” according to Chase’s father. Mary Ann, Chase’s mother, said that when she was talking to a deputy, “I can’t remember what I asked him. All he answered was: ‘We had to protect ourselves.’”
The incident is being investigated, and while we may not know exactly what happened unless the footage from the bodycams worn by the deputies is publicly released, it is hard to imagine why multiple armed police officers could not subdue an unarmed man, who was already handcuffed and trapped in a vehicle without killing him.
According to his father, Chase “was a very strong kid, but laying down in the seat belt … come on. With three guys on you? Come on. And to keep pushing the taser in you? Come on.”
While we may not yet have the footage of this killing, we do know that this is one more case of an unarmed man ending up dead, with cops saying they feared for their safety. If only they showed a similar concern for the safety of those of us who don’t wear badges and uniforms, maybe less innocent citizens would end up dead at the hands of crazed and cowardly killer cops.
This is the second case in just a short time frame of cops killing a man during a mental breakdown with tasers.
Multiple videos were released in November of 46-year-old Linwood “Ray” Lambert, who was killed by tasers. In a just a few minutes, three cops would hit Lambert with their tasers a total 20 times, according to the device reports issued by Taser International.
For a total of 87 seconds, Lambert had 50,000 volts running through his body — a level capable of inflicting serious injury or death, according to federal guidelines.
As was the case with Chase Sherman, one hour after the police showed up, Lambert was pronounced dead.