Society

Virginia Deputies Use Stun Gun On Naked Black Woman In Jail Four Times, She Later Dies (Video)

| by Michael Allen
Natasha McKennaNatasha McKenna

Fairfax County, Virginia, Sheriff Stacey Kincaid released a video (below) on Sept. 10 that appears to show deputies in biohazard suits holding down and repeatedly using a stun gun on a mentally ill, naked black woman inside a jail on Feb. 3.

Deputies used a stun gun four times on Natasha McKenna as they were trying to transfer her to another jail, notes The Guardian.

“You promised me you wouldn’t kill me,” McKenna tells the deputies in the video. “I didn’t do anything.”

The deputies demand that McKenna kneel down numerous times and repeat, "Stop resisting!" while they handcuff and shackle her.

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The physicians who treated McKenna for schizophrenia had warned police that she had problems making decisions, but the deputies told her in the video to comply or they would use a stun gun, reports RawStory.com.

The deputies claimed McKenna had superhuman strength, but in the video, the 37-year-old woman is clearly held down on the floor.

The deputies also placed a “spit sock” hood on McKenna's face and secured her to a chair.

McKenna went into cardiac arrest and became unconscious as a result of the incident at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center and died on Feb. 7.

Fairfax County commonwealth’s attorney Ray Morrogh is not going to charge the deputies with any crimes in what he called a "tragic accident," even though stun guns have been known to deliver up to 50,000 volts per shot.

While Morrogh heaped heavy praise on the deputies and their actions, the deputies' own sheriff admitted she's going to change some policies.

McKenna allegedly assaulted a police officer in Alexandria, Virginia, in late January, had a history of mental illness and reportedly stopped taking her schizophrenia medication.

Pete Earley, a mental health activist, told RawStory.com: "There’s not one moment where she’s in control. There’s never one moment where these officer’s lives are being threatened."

A medical examiner ruled that McKenna died from “excited delirium,” but that controversial condition is often used by law enforcement agencies when people die in their custody.

Douglas Zipes, a professor of medicine at Indiana University, told The Washington Post:

"They’ve come up with the concept that the individual is so excited they bring on their own death. That you can be excited is without question. That you can be delirious is without question. But the concept of this being a syndrome causing death is incorrect and false."

Dr. Vincent Di Maio, a retired pathologist who wrote a book on "excited delirium" claims that it is "well-documented" and added: "The original idea was noted in 1849, if you go to medical literature, it shows up again and again over the years. There’s no major scientific objection to it.”

According to a 2011 study published in the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, there's quite a bit of controversy regarding excited delirium, also known as EXD:

"EXD has gained increasing public attention recently due to the number of post-mortem explanations offered by medical examiners regarding the death of individuals being restrained by police or being taken into custody.

"This diagnosis has caused concern because EXD is not a currently recognized medical or psychiatric diagnosis according to either the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IVTR) of the American Psychiatric Association or the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-9) of the World Health Organization."

Mother Jones reported in 2009 that Taser International has used the "junk science" of "excited delirium" to defend itself from lawsuits.

Sources: The Guardian, RawStory.com, The Washington Post, Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, Mother Jones / Photo credit: Fairfax County, Virginia, Sheriff Office Screenshot