The police tased a guy in Portland on Monday, who then died. On Tuesday I was driving home from work and the announcer says "has been identified as 46 year old Tim Grant." I checked all the Web sites, found one that had a picture of a guy with close cropped hair. Didn't seem to be Tim. Besides, the Internet told me Tim lived in Medford, the town where we grew up. So it was a coincidence.
My husband was reading the paper this morning and I said, "Yeah, I thought that guy was someone I knew.." and stopped speaking as I bent over his shoulder and saw the word "Medford." And then I swore.
It just seems really sad. Such a waste. I had heard he had drug problems. Judging by our 20th reunion, he wasn't the only one.
Since my newest book, Shock Point, features a taser, I interviewed taser's PR guy, Steve. Now Steve sends me a press release every week or so called "Follow up to in custody death." Each explains that a death was not taser's fault. So now I will probably get one for Tim.
From today's Oregonian...
Dead man hit twice with Taser
Police - A Portland officer shocks a man despite warnings about using the stun gun when drugs are suspected
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
A Portland officer unable to handcuff an agitated man lying on Sandy Boulevard Monday shocked him twice with a Taser stun gun held to his back and neck, witnesses and police said.
Tim W. Grant, 46, of Medford went into cardiac arrest and died a short time later, becoming the latest in a growing number of cases nationwide that have provoked debate about the police weapons.
An autopsy was conducted Tuesday, but the cause of death won't be released for at least a week. The medical examiner's office is awaiting toxicology test results to determine whether drugs were in Grant's system.
Police think Grant may have been on stimulant drugs and in a so-called state of "excited delirium," considering his irrational, delusional state and his heightened body temperature.
Grant, who had struggled with cocaine use in the past, was in Portland visiting his longtime girlfriend and his sister, relatives said.
He had gone out for lunch with his sister about noon. By 3 p.m., witnesses saw him running in and out of traffic, heading west on Sandy Boulevard before he collapsed.
Mike Young, an employee at the Wireless Toyz store, ran out to help the man. By then, Grant had gotten back on his feet, stumbled across Northeast 24th Avenue and fallen on Sandy Boulevard, near the curb.
"He just cursed at me and was yelling, 'Get away . . . save me, Jesus,' " Young said. "At that point, he was lying on his stomach and kept trying to roll into the road. He grabbed my ankle and was saying 'Help me,
Young tried to stand between the man and traffic. "I don't even think he even really knew I was there," said Young, a volunteer firefighter in Boring.
Southeast Precinct Officer Paul K. Park, 35, responding to a 9-1-1 call, tried to get Grant off the street.
But Grant wasn't responding to the officer's commands.
"He was extremely out of it," said Brandon Milliken, Young's co-worker who had also run to the man's aid. "The guy acted like the officer wasn't even there."
Park, an eight-year veteran, tried to handcuff Grant as he lay on his stomach in the street. Witnesses said the officer was able to handcuff his right wrist, but then Grant grabbed the other cuff and wouldn't let go.
"Kicking and flipping"
"The guy was kicking and flipping and twisting," said Michelle Ennis, who watched from the nearby Timberline automobile dealership's showroom.
The officer, witnesses said, struck Grant in the back to get him to comply. Still unable to cuff him, Park ordered everyone back.
"He said 'Back up, I'm going to stun him,' " Young recalled.
The officer removed a cartridge from his Taser to "drive stun" Grant, meaning he held the gun at close range to shock the man instead of firing electrified probes into his skin.
The shocks didn't have much of an effect, several witnesses said. "He'd twitch for a second and then go back to rolling," Milliken said. Young said the man started bashing his head into the ground.
Grant was still conscious and talking when ambulance paramedics arrived and started to take his pulse, witnesses said. They attempted to place him on a stretcher, but then suddenly rolled him onto his back and began emergency cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Grant, a Medford high school graduate who at one time had a commercial real estate license, had lived in Portland for many years before moving back to Medford to live with his parents about a year ago. His sister said he struggled with cocaine use but had been clean for two years.