Video shows a violent struggle between Chase Sherman, 32, and Florida police who tased him 15 times between he stopped breathing.
Sherman was returning home with his parents and fiancée from his brother’s wedding. His parents were concerned about Sherman’s erratic behavior, caused by synthetic marijuana he took days earlier. They called 911 as they want their son to be helped. I bet they could never guess their son would be dead by the end of the encounter.
Body cam worn by one of the sheriff’s deputies captured the fatal incident. We see the deputy grappling with handcuffed Sherman in the car’s back seat while he was desperate to get out of the vehicle.
The fight was over after the deputy pulled his Taser and stunned Sherman numerous times with it, and the second deputy punched him in the head.
Moments later, an emergency arrived only to help kill the man. The medical technician pushed down on Sherman’s body. “I got all the weight of the world on him now,” he could be heard saying before Sherman was shocked again.
Police killed the son in front of his parents. Police killed the husband in front his wife. That’s tragedy.
As Chase Sherman was returning home with his parents and fiancée from his brother’s wedding in November, he began to hallucinate. Apparently reacting to synthetic marijuana he took days earlier, he bit his girlfriend and tried to jump out of the back seat of the car as the family drove through Georgia toward Florida.
About an hour outside Atlanta, at Mile Marker 55 on Interstate 85, his fiancée pulled over the car and his mother called the police, hoping they would help calm Mr. Sherman, 32. Less than a half-hour later, Mr. Sherman, who worked at a family-owned parasailing business on the Gulf Coast, was dead.
He was stunned numerous times with Taser guns carried by two sheriff’s deputies, while handcuffed in the back seat of a rental car.
Like other recent episodes involving the police, this one was captured on video, in this case by body cameras worn by the sheriff’s deputies as they tried to subdue Mr. Sherman.
The video, a copy of which was obtained in recent days by The New York Times, is similar to recording of fatal encounters involving law enforcement officers in Chicago; North Charleston, S.C.; and Staten Island. Each one depicts in stark terms a response from officers that resulted in a death. In this instance, there are no racial overtones: Both Mr. Sherman and the deputy sheriffs are white.
The footage from Georgia was released Friday by prosecutors in Coweta County in response to requests from the family and the news media. It shows the sheriff’s deputies struggling to subdue Mr. Sherman as he tried to get out of the car, stunning him repeatedly with their Taser guns while he was handcuffed, and reacting frantically after realizing he was dead.
Mr. Sherman’s death was a homicide due to “an altercation with law enforcement with several trigger pulls of an electronic control device,” according to his death certificate, which said that he had been shoved to the floor of the car and that his torso was compressed “by the body weight of another individual.”
“How can they do this when they know someone is having a breakdown?” said L. Chris Stewart, a lawyer for the Sherman family. “Once they started shocking him, how can someone comply when they’re being electrocuted over and over again?”
Kevin and Mary Ann Sherman, Chase Sherman’s parents, said they were not sure what had caused their son’s odd behavior. They said they first became concerned when he began acting erratically while they were in the Dominican Republic for the wedding. Chase told his mother that he had taken the synthetic marijuana the day before they traveled there.
“He was scared when we were down there,” Ms. Sherman said. “He said he heard different bad things were happening in different countries. He would see a couple of things that weren’t there. He thought people were watching him, and he didn’t want to go anywhere without his mom and dad or brother.”
But his parents said he had seemed fine on the flight back to Atlanta, where they were to change planes and continue their trip home to Destin, Fla. Then, as they waited at the Atlanta airport, Mr. Sherman grew agitated. The family decided it would be better to drive the rest of the way, so they rented a car.
Not long into the drive, Mr. Sherman began trying to jump out of the car.
“I couldn’t keep him in the car — he didn’t know where he was and was disoriented,” Kevin Sherman said. “I couldn’t keep him in the car by myself, so we needed to call for medical assistance.”
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