The Lucas County jail corrections administrator plans to recommend today that the sheriff's internal affairs bureau investigate the death of a central Toledo man who was shocked nine separate times with a Taser.
Rick Keller plans to make his recommendation to Sheriff James Telb because of the unusualness of the case. He said he makes such recommendations in cases of death in or escape from the jail.
Jeffrey Turner, 41, died Monday after he was shocked with two different Taser models, which distribute 50,000 volts of electricity for five seconds to subdue a person.
City police jolted him five times after he refused to identify himself and didn't comply with police instructions.
He was arrested about 6 p.m. after police were sent to the Toledo Museum of Art to investigate a suspicious person standing in the street.
Turner was taken to the jail and charged with three misdemeanor offenses. The sheriff said he calmed down, ate food, and later pounded on his cell. When jail personnel tried to restrain him about 8:45 p.m., he struggled and they shocked him four times with a larger, older-model Taser, Sheriff Telb said.
Minutes later, a nurse called to check Turner found him unresponsive. He died a short time later in St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center. An autopsy was inconclusive as to the cause and the manner of death.
Dr. James Patrick, Lucas County coroner, said a coroner's inquest is not planned.
"The decision will come after we have all the information about precisely how this gentleman died, including what toxicology tests and microscopic tests of his heart shows," he said.
Dr. Patrick said his office will examine recent death cases in which Tasers were used to try to determine the effects of the device. A study released last year found more than 70 Taser-related deaths in the United States and Canada.
"We are absolutely not gonna rush into making a decision until we have all of the evidence," Dr. Patrick said.
Mr. Keller said city police told jail personnel prior to booking Turner that he was shocked with a Taser, which emits less energy than a defibrillator.
When Turner was taken to the hospital, the acting sheriff's sergeant who used the Taser in the cell called city police and asked how many times they shocked him. They said four to five times.
Mr. Keller said an intake report shows Turner told a jail counselor he suffered from paranoid-schizophrenia, for which he was taking medication. A Toledo Municipal Court record from 2000 indicates he said he was taking medication for a chemical imbalance. The record and intake report indicate Turner told authorities he had no drug or alcohol problems.
City police requested video from the museum parking lot from Monday night, museum spokesman Jordan Rundgren said. She said a video was given to police, but she did not know what it showed.
Mr. Keller said the Taser has been used 15 times in the jail since last year, and none of the inmates shocked was hurt.
Toledo police reported 236 Taser incidents last year involving 229 people - the majority of them males - and seven animals. A summary report of the incidents shows 165 people were not hurt, four claimed injury, 23 had apparent injuries, and 27 were injured prior to intervention.
The report indicates 24 suspects had a weapon; 14 had a weapon in hand, and five had something pointed at an officer.
It also states the overall effectiveness of the device was 70 percent. Reasons for noneffectiveness include the probes missing the suspect, not penetrating clothing, and not making direct contact.
In some cases, only one probe hit the suspect or a part of the device malfunctioned.
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