It may be several weeks before DeKalb County’s medical examiner knows whether a police Taser played a role in the deaths of two people this month.
“I wouldn’t throw Taser under the bus just because the Taser was used,” said Chief Investigator Patrick Bailey of the medical examiner’s office.
DeKalb County police have used Tasers in two separate incidents that resulted in death this month. A woman died May 14 after she was shot with a Taser while officers tried to subdue her, county Public Safety Director William Miller said in statement.
The incident occurred in the Brannen Hill condominium complex at 6804 Baynes Hill Drive in Clarkston before midnight. Officers found a woman whom they say had attempted to carjack at least two drivers and had broken into a condo to steal car keys from the condo residents.
When the woman saw the officers, she ran away, hopped in a car and quickly crashed into another car in the complex, according to police. She fought with the officers, who eventually shot her with a Taser, and she was subdued, Miller said. Shortly thereafter, she began to show signs of distress; medical personnel began to treat her and she died later in a local hospital.
Miller’s office is also investigating the death of Audreacas Davis on May 9 after he was Tasered five times in a motel on Chamblee-Tucker Road as police also tried to subdue him. Police said they believed Davis overdosed on drugs and became combative when police approached him. He was later pronounced dead at DeKalb Medical Center.
Nearly 1,000 Tasers were reissued to county officers earlier this year after they went through mandatory training. The department issued Tasers once before but removed them in 2005 after Taser International warned that multiple shocks could be fatal. Police officials said a grand jury investigation last year suggested the weapons reduce the number of suspect fatalities and police injuries, making the department more comfortable with using them again.
Miller said he plans to release the results of the investigation when it’s completed.