Taser use in naked man's death broke rules, NYPD says
David Edwards
Published: Thursday September 25, 2008


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"The firing of a Taser stun gun that led a man to fall from a building ledge to his death Wednesday in Brooklyn appeared to have violated departmental guidelines, the police said on Thursday," The New York Times reports.

The statement begins, "On Wednesday, September 24 at approximately 1:50 PM, members of the NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit responded to the report of an emotionally disturbed person at 489 Tompkins Avenue in Brooklyn. The individual, Inman Morales, fled out the window of his third-floor apartment to the fire escape. After unsuccessfully trying to enter the apartment of a fourth-floor neighbor from the fire escape, Morales fled to the second-floor fire escape, and from there onto the housing of a roll-down security gate, which was 10-feet, five inches from the sidewalk."

Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne, New York City Police Department notes that none of the "officers on the scene were positioned to break his fall, nor did they devise a plan in advance to do so."

"The order to employ the Taser under these circumstances appears to have violated guidelines, re-issued June 4, 2008, which specifically state that 'when possible, the CED should not be used…in situations where the subject may fall from an elevated surface,'" the statement continues.

"The lieutenant who directed the use of the Taser has been placed on modified assignment," Browne writes. "The officer has been assigned to administrative duties. The Brooklyn District Attorney has asked that neither officer be interviewed by the Police Department as the investigation into this incident continues."

The Times reports, "The use of Tasers in New York has a troubled history. In the early 1980s, the police were condemned for using them to force drug suspects to confess. Mr. Kelly, then a deputy inspector, was assigned to reform the police practices."

"The study on police shootings, which urged the department to consider expanding its use of Tasers, was conducted by the RAND Corporation and commissioned seven weeks after the shooting of Sean Bell, who died in a hail of 50 police bullets in Queens on his wedding day in November 2006," reports the New York Times.

This video is from NYPost.com, broadcast September 24, 2008.




Download video via RawReplay.com


Full NYPD statement follows:

####

On Wednesday, September 24 at approximately 1:50 PM, members of the NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit responded to the report of an emotionally disturbed person at 489 Tompkins Avenue in Brooklyn. The individual, Inman Morales, fled out the window of his third-floor apartment to the fire escape. After unsuccessfully trying to enter the apartment of a fourth-floor neighbor from the fire escape, Morales fled to the second-floor fire escape, and from there onto the housing of a roll-down security gate, which was 10-feet, five inches from the sidewalk.

As an ESU officer was in the process of securing himself on the second-floor fire escape, Morales jabbed at him with an eight-foot long florescent light. An ESU lieutenant directed another ESU officer on the sidewalk to employ a Conducted Energy Device (CED), commonly known as a Taser, against Morales, who fell to the sidewalk, striking his head. He was removed to Kings County Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

While officers had radioed for an inflatable bag as the incident unfolded, it had not yet arrived at the scene when Morales fell. None of the ESU officers on the scene were positioned to break his fall, nor did they devise a plan in advance to do so.

The order to employ the Taser under these circumstances appears to have violated guidelines, re-issued June 4, 2008, which specifically state that “when possible, the CED should not be used…in situations where the subject may fall from an elevated surface.”

The lieutenant who directed the use of the Taser has been placed on modified assignment. The officer has been assigned to administrative duties. The Brooklyn District Attorney has asked that neither officer be interviewed by the Police Department as the investigation into this incident continues.

Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne, New York City Police Department

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