Man dies after deputies taser him 3 times
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09/12/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday | Listen to this entire show:

A Plant City man was killed last night after Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Deputies zapped him three times with a taser gun.

Roney Wilson, 46, was with his family in Plant City last night when he became violent.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Wilson became violent after he neglected to take his medication. He smashed the windshield of his mother's Nissan pickup with his fist, which prompted his mother to spray him with a garden hose to try to subdue him. That’s when a family member called the Sheriff’s Office, saying they wanted him removed.

The Taser stun gun, which is accurate from up to 25 feet, works by paralyzing people with a 50,000-volt shock delivered by two barbed darts whose current can penetrate clothing.

But Debbie Carter, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office, said that didn’t deter Wilson at all – leading deputies to zap him a second time, which subdued him to the point where they could remove him from his vehicle. But he continued to struggle, falling to the ground and trying to crawl underneath a pickup truck. At that point, one of the deputies then “drive stunned” him.

Controversy over whether police departments should use tasers have taken place for years. Human rights and civil rights groups have criticized the safety of stun guns and the potential for misuse.

Jared Feuer is the Southern Regional Director for Amnesty International USA. He says police officers are going out in the field using tasers with the idea that they are safe.

There have been a number of lawsuits filed against law enforcement agencies over the use of taser, and some local governments have prohibited their use. But Feuer says taser usage is going up, not down.

The three deputies, who have not been named, are currently taking their weekend off. Carter said there will be an investigation. She also said this is the first time the use of a stun gun has resulted in a fatality in Hillsborough County.

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