Possible Taser-related death leads to internal police review
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
CREATED Mar. 19, 2012
Reporter: Kevin Keen
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Tucson police and the county medical examiner’s office are trying to determine why a man died this weekend shortly after being tased by officers. He died early Sunday morning while in custody. TPD reported. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday afternoon. The department, meanwhile, is performing a review of its own--an internal evaluation of how officers handled the situation and if their actions "contributed" to the man's death. The procedure is standard protocol, but could lead to changes at the department.
TPD says 46-year-old Michael Carbone was "augmentative," "confrontational" and physical when officers responded to a report of domestic violence late Saturday. The department said he ran to a Circle K on North Alvernon, where an officer tased him twice. In police custody, Carbone died shortly thereafter.
“Any time we have an in-custody death, of course, it's a very serious incident,” assistant chief Brett Klein told KGUN9 News. “A person has died.”
Klein says it's standard procedure to perform an internal review. “That board of inquiry is comprised of three commanders, who will look at this incident from beginning to end and they'll make a determination on whether or not we followed our general orders, our procedures, our training and all of those things to make sure that we did our job the way we're supposed to,” he said.
The department says such a review could lead to changes in training, equipment and policies.
Right now, it considers a Taser an "intermediate weapon" like a baton.
KGUN9 asked what could change as a result of this review. “It's too early to make any determinations on whether or not anything would change because of this particular incident,” Klein answered.
“Is it possible that any of the people involved could, for the lack of a better way to put it, 'get in trouble' as a result of the investigation of what happened?” reporter Kevin Keen asked Klein. “I don't want to cast that light right now,” he replied. “That's why we have a process. We don't want to try and make any pre-determinations. That's why we go through the board of inquiry process--is to look at all of the actions and review all of the material that's been gathered.”
Klein says it's rare that a person dies in custody. He adds officers draw a Taser roughly 150 times a year and, in those cases, actually use them about 100 times.