Tuesday, May 24, 2016

'I'm physically disabled" ... Zap!

Last week, Grits published video of a man tazed because he would not get up. Here is one of a man Tazed because he would/could not get down. James Sizer dropped like a stone when Austin PD officer Martha Cameron zapped him. He died a week later from the blow to the head sustained when he hit the concrete.

Sizer had fired a gun into the ground in his backyard and threatened a family member - he did not sound like a particularly pleasant or sympathetic person - but he put the weapon away before officers came and told the 911 operator he would meet officers in the driveway unarmed, which he did.

Amanda Woog forwarded me this detail from the APD death-in-custody narrative reported to the Attorney General, which was unusually tardy as such things go:
On March 6, 2015, Sizer called 911 and stated he discharged his firearm at his residence and threatened to shoot his son.  When officers arrived, Sizer refused to comply with officers' orders to get on the ground.  A Taser was deployed and Sizer struck his head when he fell on the driveway.  After receiving treatment at the hospital that night he was booked in to jail on March 7, 2015, for Discharge of Firearm in Certain Municipalities.  On March 9, 2015, Sizer was released from jail after posting bond.

On March 14, 2015, Sizer was found deceased at his residence.  On May 8, 2015, the Travis County Medical Examiners Office finalized the autopsy results and ruled the death a Homicide; citing complications of blunt force trauma to the head and listed a contributing factor of acute and chronic ethanol abuse.
See an offense report and autopsy results. The Statesman offered brief coverage when the officers were cleared by the grand jury and when the family filed suit.

MORE: There's no record either officer was disciplined for the event, even though the Statesman reported that the "arrest affidavit made no mention of Sizer indicating he had a disability and says Cameron believed he could be armed, despite not seeing a weapon in his hands." One wonders if the department has been reticent to punish the two officers because of the risk of successful civil litigation?

AND MORE: According to his obituary, Sizer was a 20-year US Air Force veteran. No word whether his disability related to his service.


The Homeless Cowboy said...

There were two armed and trained peace officers on the scene and it would have been a simple matter to have the suspect face the wall of his home while one officer kept the suspect under armed surveillance the other officer could have easily handcuffed the suspect and all would have been well. I can't see any way in the world that these two officers are not prosecuted for 2nd degree murder. If they are not then the City Police department should and probably will become the butt of a thousand really bad jokes, they should be a laughingstock of Law enforcement in Texas. This was straight up a killing, no other explanation. These officers should be fired and prosecuted as civilians they are not qualified to carry firearms in Texas. I can't see how they were not indicted, this man was NOT a threat to them.

Anonymous said...

"Get down." "Get up." Telling Sandra Bland to "Put out your cigarette." The meaning is the same: "Show you know who is master. Or I will Tase your ass."

doran said...

The problem is not just trigger-happy, poorly motivated, poorly trained, poorly supervised authoritarian cops who expect immediate compliance with their "orders".

The most serious problem is with the District Attorneys who seem unable to make a serious attempt to get a grand jury to indict officers like the ones involved in this tragedy.

Did you catch the use of the passive voice in the report to the AG? "A Taser was deployed...."

Anonymous said...

Grand jury won't indict, nothing new the prosecutors hand picked team of guaranteed excuses!
The justice system is broke the grand jury should be picked at random for every case
Smith county DA Matt Bingham Bingham is Texas worst.

Anonymous said...

Cowgirl this is no joke.

Anonymous said...

You always hear that a Prosecutor can convince a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich, but somehow they can't seem to secure any kind of indictment for this obvious crime.

Officers for some reason seem to be immune to any type of misconduct or criminal activity.