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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fort Worth, Texas: Officer not disciplined in deadly Taser incident

October 16, 2009

Associated Press
via tbo.com

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- The police officer who used a Taser on a mentally ill man who died as a result of the two high-voltage shocks will not be disciplined and remains on patrol, the Fort Worth police chief said Friday.

Police Chief Jeff Halstead said the administrative investigation into the April 18 death of Michael Patrick Jacobs Jr. is closed but declined to comment on it. He said he turned it over to the district attorney and expects a grand jury to review the case next month.

If Officer Stephanie A. Phillips were to be indicted or convicted, the 17-year police veteran would face disciplinary action, Halstead said. Aww. That's a shame, but they are missing the point that Michel Jacobs is DEAD.

Jacobs' family had called police that day to report a disturbance because he had not been taking his medication for bipolar disorder, relatives have said. Officers said he became combative.

In August the medical examiner ruled that Jacobs' death was a homicide. Phillips stunned the 24-year-old with a Taser twice - the first time for 49 seconds and the second time for 5 seconds, with a 1-second interval between the shocks, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office report.

Neither paramedics at the scene nor emergency room personnel could revive him, and he was pronounced dead about noon - an hour after police used the Taser, the report said.

Tasers issue a 50,000-volt shock that over-stimulates the nervous system and causes muscles to lock up, temporarily immobilizing a person.

An autopsy concluded that the primary cause of death was "sudden death during neuromuscular incapacitation due to application of a conducted energy device," and said no traces of alcohol or drugs, electrolyte imbalances, or signs of heart or lung disease were found - all of which can be contributing factors in a death...

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