Society

Unarmed Black Man Dies When Police Use Taser, Chokehold (Video)

| by Michael Allen

A police officer tased an unarmed African-American man seven times before punching him and holding him in a chokehold for more than one minute on May 14 in Las Vegas (video below).

The unarmed man, Tashi Brown, died about 40 minutes after his struggle with the police, notes the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department released edited footage from Officer Kenneth Lopera's body cam on May 17.

In the video, Brown is seen fleeing Lopera, who slips and falls down during the chase. Lopera gets back up on his feet, and continues his foot pursuit of Brown in what appears to be a driveway.

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Lopera uses a Taser on Brown, dropping him to the ground. Lopera tells Brown not to move, but then orders him to get on his stomach. Brown is heard screaming, "I will!" as he tries to roll over on his stomach; Lopera repeatedly uses the Taser on Brown.

Two other officers arrive and tell Brown to turn around, while Lopera tells him to get down. Lopera orders Brown not to move, and then tells him to get on his stomach; Lopera keeps firing his Taser on Brown.

Lopera punches Brown several times with a closed fist, and puts him in a chokehold during the chaotic situation, notes the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

One cop says, "Is he out? Is he out yet?"

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After Brown became unresponsive, the police reportedly performed CPR on him before he was transported to a local hospital.

The police department released a statement about the incident on May 17, which referred to Brown by his mother's surname Farmer:

Farmer was sweating heavily, looked panicked, and stated that people were chasing him. Officer Lopera attempted to speak with Farmer to help him, and Farmer immediately ran away and went through a set of doors into the “employee only” area of the hotel.

Officer Lopera initiated a foot pursuit down the corridor but lost sight of Farmer. The officer caught up with Farmer outside of the hotel in a roadway on the hotel property.

Farmer was attempting to open the tailgate of an occupied pickup, but he was unsuccessful. He then ran around to the driver’s side of the truck.

Believing that Farmer was attempting to carjack the citizen, Officer Lopera deployed his Taser, warned Farmer he would tase him, and then discharged the Taser in an attempt to incapacitate him. Though the Taser had immediate effect on Farmer, he was able to overcome the neuromuscular incapacitation and fight with Officer Lopera despite the attempts made to take him into custody.

The truck driver told police that he did not think he was being carjacked, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said on May 17 that Brown would not have been criminally charged if he had not died.

The police department originally said the hold used on Brown by Lopera was an approved maneuver called a Lateral Vascular Neck Restraint, but McMahill said Lopera described the hold as a "rear naked choke," a martial arts technique.

Carolyn Becic, a witness from Portland, Oregon, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal: "As an observer, I don’t know why they would keep Tasing him. He was already on the ground."

She said Brown was on the ground for several minutes and appeared to be unconscious before the cops used CPR to try to revive him.

Brown’s uncle, Derrick Lathan, told the newspaper: "They train these officers in the wrong things to look for. I thought [Brown] was terrorizing the Strip the way they made it sound."

According to Lathan, his nephew was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic.

"When he’s normal on his medicine, he could run for mayor," Lathan added.

Sources: Las Vegas Review-Journal, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department / Photo Credit: Tomas Del Coro/Flickr

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