Suspect Dies After Being TASERed

September 19, 2008 at 3:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Yikes, looks like there was a ruckus early this morning and after all was said and done, an LPD officer’s use of the TASER may have killed a man. To make things even more interesting, MTV was filming for the show “Busted!” at the time.

The deceased is 23 year-old Gabriel Shane Bitterman. LPD responded early this morning while Britterman allegedly held his girlfriend at knifepoint. When Bitterman refused to drop the knife, the officer zapped him. Bitterman died about an hour later.

Obviously details are pretty sketchy at this point so don’t jump to any conclusions. What we can say at this point is that this demonstrates that TASERs are not non-lethal weapons; they are “less lethal”, but a suspect’s physiology and/or chemical use, and even bad timing or aim, can still contribute to the suspect’s death.

Thank goodness harsh or lethal force is not something LPD is known for.

Hat tip: Thanks for the heads-up, foxspit.

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The Comments

Mr. T September 19, 2008 at 4:10pm

Woah! Is it common for people to die from these things? I wonder how many times they zapped him and much he absorbed.

Mr. Wilson September 19, 2008 at 4:26pm

Wikipedia sez Amnesty International sez at least 245 people have died after being zapped. Many of the TASER-related deaths I’ve read about were associated with drug use (legal or otherwise), but that’s not to say the drug use caused the deaths.

In this case, the LJS article has been updated to say the officer used a single, 5-second jolt to subdue the suspect. If true, my understanding is that’s not an abuse of the tool. You can find lots of news reports about officers jolting the crap out of people multiple times and for far longer than 5 seconds.

West A Dad September 19, 2008 at 5:55pm

rare occurences where the guy had a heart murmur or something and his heart rhythm would not re-establish itself.

D.M.B. September 19, 2008 at 8:01pm

I’m actually glad we have the option to use tazers.  As the article said, had we not had them, he could have been shot.

Rare is the case where someone dies because of a Tazer, so IMO this was a freak accident and would rather police use Tazers to resolves situations like this rather than pumping him full of lead.

Duffman September 19, 2008 at 8:37pm

I would rather that guys don’t hold girls at knife point then we wouldn’t need to worry about it.  ;O)

West A Dad September 19, 2008 at 9:58pm

Damn straight!

D.M.B. September 20, 2008 at 4:59pm

Well…yes that is a given.

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