A 76-year-old nursing home patient in Minnesota has died after suffering complications stemming from an incident where he was subdued by a police Taser. Zheng Diao was wielding a knife and scissors when St. Louis Park officers responded to a call for help from his nursing home. Officers responded to the Park Health and Rehab nursing home on July 14.
After they arrived on the scene, officers gestured for Diao to drop his weapons. He did not speak English. Diao was tasered by police to prevent him from hurting himself after he began to move the knife toward his throat. He fell and injured his face.
Diao died from pneumonia that developed while he was being treated for delirium and his injuries.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Mark Kosieradzki, an attorney who specializes in nursing home cases and has reviewed more than 1,000 cases alleging nursing home abuse and negligence.
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“Our staff responded quickly and appropriately at the time of the incident by immediately contacting the local authorities for assistance,” said nursing home administrator Kristie Johnsrud. “We also reported the incident to the Minnesota Department of Health, as required by law.”
The St. Louis Park Police Department said that it plans to enlist an outside agency to investigate. Diao’s family declined to comment on his death.
Although law enforcement officials and stun-gun makers say the devices are a safer choice than firearms for police officers, a number of suspects have died after being subjected to Tasers, the Star Tribune reported. A new study indicates that the devices can cause irregular heart rhythms, leading to cardiac arrest.