'Out of control' patient dies days after being tased, restrained by police

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'Out of Control' Patient Dies Days After Being Tased, Restrained By Police

ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) -– Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson said a man is dead days after being tased and restrained by police.

Johnson said the initial incident happened the morning of Feb. 3 when Athens Police received a call "to assist the medical staff with a patient who was becoming out of control at the emergency room." The officers who responded were told by Athens Limestone Hospital staff that the patient was physically struggling with them during their attempts to conduct a mental health evaluation.

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"The medical staff and patient's mother left the room, and officers talked to the patient from the doorway. The patient remained very agitated and threw his hospital gown and glass vials at officers," Johnson said.

After officers were unable to calm the man, Johnson said they told the patient's mother and staff that it would be necessary to use a Taser on him to stop further attempts to harm himself and others.

After one officer used the Taser on the patient and another restrained and handcuffed him, "It later became apparent the patient was having trouble breathing, and the staff moved the patient to a trauma room," Johnson said.

The patient was transported to Huntsville Hospital, where he died on Feb. 8, he said.

A preliminary autopsy report is still pending. Johnson said video from the officer's body camera exists and will be made available to the public after the patient's family has time to watch it first. The video should be made available in a few days.

"Our officers responded in accordance with out policies, and to ensure transparency, I have asked the Alabama Bureau of Investigation to conduct its own investigation," Johnson said.

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