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The Persistence of Fatal Police Taserings, Part 2

I erred when I stated that the total number of citizens slain by American police with a Taser was at least 732. The correct number is 745.

My previous article included a list, which I then thought complete, of 50 citizens fatally tasered by American police in 2015. Based on information subsequently sent me by researchers at Truth Not Tasers, I now know that my list was incomplete. There were in fact 63 fatal police taserings in 2015.

This means that last year more than five Americans per month died suddenly, shortly, unexpectedly or suspiciously after being electroshocked one or more times with Tasers by police.

Included at the end of this article is my updated list of the Americans killed by police with Tasers last year, together with the ages of the 63 victims and the state and county or city where the tasering occurred. The names of the 13 victims omitted from my earlier list are in italics.

The new information I have received regarding fatal police taserings in 2015 requires me to update or amplify some of the data set out in my earlier article.

First, in 2015 there was at least one fatal police tasering in 26 states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington.

Second, there were two or more lethal police taserings in 13 states in 2015. The two states with the most fatal taserings by police were Texas, with seven, and Georgia, with six. There were five fatal police taserings in two states (California and Florida); four in two states (Oklahoma and Pennsylvania); three in five states (Kansas, Maryland, New York, Ohio and Virginia); and two in two states (Connecticut and Minnesota).

Third, a frightening 10 times in 2015—on Jan. 1, Mar. 1, Mar. 6, Mar. 30, Apr. 4, Apr. 16, May 10, June 8, Aug. 31 and Dec. 21—there were at least two fatal police taserings on one day.

Fourth, four of the 13 victims omitted from my previous list were electroshocked more than once. Matthew Ajibade was electroshocked numerous times. Kenneth Schick died, according to the local sheriff’s office, after “deputies deployed Tasers… to gain control of him.” DeOntre L. Dorsey was fatally tasered by a police officer who reported that “while giving commands [he] delivered three, maybe four shocks to Dorsey.” James Paul Bertuglia was electroshocked three times.

In my previous article I noted that 15 of the 50 listed victims had been subjected to multiple taserings. It is therefore now evident that 19 (30 percent) of the 63 fatal police tasering victims were electroshocked multiple times.

Fifth, taking into account Matthew Ajibade, the hapless prisoner repeatedly electroshocked while already strapped down in a restraint chair in the Chatham County jail, the number of persons fatally tasered by police in Georgia since 2003 has risen from 23 to 24. The largest number of Georgians lethally tasered by police in any one year was in 2015, when there were six. Thus, an astounding one-fourth of all the fatal police taserings of Georgians occurred last year.

Donald E. Wilkes, Jr., is a Professor of Law Emeritus at the UGA School of Law.

Updated List of the Dead:

The 63 Victims of Fatal Police Taserings in 2015 (Sources: The Counted and Truth Not Tasers)

Jan. 1, Roberto Fausto Ornelas, 18, Monroe County, FL (died 1/5/2015)

Jan. 1, Matthew Ajibade, 21, Chatham County, GA

Jan. 5, Richard L. Miller, 66, Manor Township, PA

Jan. 6, Brian Pickett, 26, Los Angeles, CA

Jan. 14, Andre Larone Murphy, 42, Norfolk, NE

Jan. 16, Sinthanouxay Khottavongsa, 57, Minneapolis, MN

Feb. 3, Natasha McKenna, 37, Fairfax, VA

Feb. 5, Wilber Castilla-Gongora, 35, Electra, TX

Feb. 15, Chance Thompson, 35, Marysville, CA

Feb. 21, Terry Price, 41, Tulsa, OK

Feb. 22, Calvon Reid, 39, Coconut Creek, FL

Mar. 1, Darrell “Hubbard” Gatewood, 47, Oklahoma City, OK

Mar. 1, DeOntre L. Dorsey, 32, Charles County, MD (died 11/29/2015)

Mar. 6, Tony Ross, 34, Sulphur Springs, TX

Mar. 6, James Sizer, 62, Austin, TX (died 3/14/2015)

Mar. 10, Terrance Moxley, 29, Mansfield, OH

Mar. 15, David Werblow, 41, Branford, CT

Mar. 16, Sheldon Haleck, 38, Honolulu, HI

Mar. 17, Askari Roberts, 35, Rome, GA

Mar. 30, Dominick Wise, 30, Culpeper, VA

Mar. 30, Gregory Smith, 39, Crown Point, IN

Apr. 2, Donald “Dontay” Ivy, 39, Albany, NY

Apr. 3, David Lynch, 33, Muskogee County, OK

Apr. 4, William Dick, III, 28, Tonasket, WA

Apr. 4, David Cody Lynch, 33, Warner, OK

Apr. 8, Michael LeMon, 57, Kern County, CA

Apr. 16, Darrell Brown, 31, Hagerstown, MD

Apr. 16, David Kapuscinski, 39, Rockwood, MI

Apr. 19, Norman Cooper, 33, San Antonio, TX

Apr. 21, Steven Davenport, 43, Meridian, MS

May 1, Martin Bayless, 66, Osage County, KS (died 5/9/2015)

May 8, John Kaafi, 33, Sarasota, FL

May 10, Michael Gallagher, 55, Enfield, NC

May 10, Dajuan Graham, 40, Silver Spring, MD (died 5/12/2015)

May 25, Thomas Duffy, 52, Catasauqua, PA

May 27, Randall Torrence, 34, Kansas City, KS

May 29, Billy Collins, 56, Louisa, KY

May 31, Richard Davis, 50, Rochester, NY

June 8, Ross Anthony, 25, Dallas, TX

June 8, Mario Ocasio, 51, New York, NY

June 20, Kevin Bajoie, 32, Baton Rouge, LA

July 4, Maximo Rabasa, 52, Miami, FL

July 6, Shane Gormley, 30, Ogden, UT

July 11, George Mann, 53, Stone Mountain, GA

July 29, Wilmer Delgado-Soba, 38, Worcester, MA

Aug. 6, Troy Robinson, 33, Decatur, GA

Aug. 7, Matthew Russo, 26, Hartford, CT

Aug. 15, Oscar Ruiz, 44, Irwindale, CA

Aug. 21, Marc Kaplan, 57, Scottsdale, AZ

Aug. 31, James Carney, III, 48, Cincinnati, OH

Aug. 31, Nicholas Dyksma, 18, Hamilton (Harris County), GA

Sept. 4, Lucas Markus, 33, Girardville, PA

Sept. 5, Manuel Ornelas, 47, Long Beach, CA

Sept. 8, Jordan Miller, 24, Akron, OH

Oct. 18, Danny Hammond, 50, St. Cloud, MN

Oct. 20, Kenneth Schick, 47, Osage County, KS

Oct. 21, Mario Perdigone, 36, Corpus Christi, TX

Oct. 26, Omar Lopez, 24, Philadelphia, PA

Nov. 20, Chase Sherman, 32, Coweta County, GA

Dec. 8, James Paul Bertuglia, 40, Lynchburg, VA (died12/14/2015)

Dec. 20, Lionel Waters, 35, Harrington, DE (died 1/9/2016)

Dec. 21, Paul Testa, 44, Jacksonville, FL

Dec. 21, Alfredo Barrientos, 47, Laredo, TX