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Published: Saturday, 2/26/2005

5 officers facing internal charges

BY CHRISTINA HALL
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Five Toledo police officers including a sergeant are facing administrative charges for improperly handcuffing a man who died after he was shocked nine times with a Taser. Police and Lucas County jail authorities were involved in the incidents.

The police department's internal affairs bureau concluded the officers did not use excessive force in the arrest Jan. 31 of Jeffrey Turner, 41, and that the use of a Taser at the time of his arrest was justified, Chief Mike Navarre said yesterday.

However, the investigation showed that in transporting Turner to the jail, he was handcuffed behind his back and those cuffs were connected to oversized cuffs that were placed on his ankles, which is contrary to department policy.

Officers Michael Haynes, Douglas Lewis, Michael E. Murphy, and Brian Young were charged with violating policy on transporting prisoners.

Sgt. Daniel Ray was charged with one count of supervisory accountability.

They remain on duty pending disciplinary hearings March 8.

Chief Navarre said video from the Toledo Museum of Art, where the arrest occurred, showed Turner kneeling with his hands cuffed behind his back, another set of cuffs on his ankles, and a third set of cuffs connecting the other two sets.

The chief declined to comment on whether the way Turner was handcuffed had an impact on his death later.

An autopsy was inconclusive as to the cause and manner of Turner's death. Toxicology tests and further investigation are needed.

Turner died after he was shocked five times by police and four times by jail correction officers in incidents that occurred about three hours apart.

Police approached Turner outside the museum after security there reported a suspicious man loitering outside the closed museum for more than 40 minutes.

Officers said they used a Taser to subdue him after he refused to cooperate and fought being taken into custody.

After he was carried into the jail, Turner was booked and ate a lunch before becoming agitated again.

He refused attempts to restrain him, and corrections officers shocked him with a Taser.

A nurse sent to Turner's cell, as a matter of procedure to check on him after the stun gun's use, discovered he was unresponsive. He died a short time later.

Shawn Turner said how his brother was handcuffed is just one issue authorities should be investigating. He said the main issue they should be looking at is how his brother died.

"If they didn't have to use excessive force, why did they have to [shock] him," he asked.

The police policy detailing the transportation of prisoners was established in 2002 to achieve compliance when the department was going through an accreditation process.

Chief Navarre said some officers were not aware of the handcuffing portion of the policy, so he re-issued it last week.

Also last week, Sheriff James Telb suspended the use of Tasers and enacted a policy that requires any suspect shocked by a stun gun to pass a medical examination at a hospital before being booked into the jail.

He said there were no sheriff's office internal policy violations in Jeffrey Turner's death and no administrative or criminal charges will be filed by his office.

Gregg Harris, president of the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association, declined comment. Terry Stewart, president of the Toledo Police Command Officers' Association, could not be reached for comment.

Contact Christina Hall at

chall@theblade.com

or 419-724-6007.



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