Monday, February 23, 2009

Summit Deputies taser inmate with mental health issues; suspect in ICU

The broadcast expression "it's happened again" is probably too harsh for this case, but it's probably the best fit that comes to mind.

Summit Deputies tasered an inmate Saturday night less than an hour before the man would have been sent to a mental health facility for more treatment. When the inmate's heart stopped, the deputies resuscitated him using an AED; he's now in ICU at Akron General.

The suspect, 21-year-old Gregory Dillard, had been locked up since Feb. 16 when Akron Police busted him on a drug charge. Dillard has a long rap sheet with 11 previous visits to the jail.

A spokeswoman tells me that Dillard "was naked and jumping on his bed" and that deputies opened his cell door to give him new clothes. That's when Dillard attacked and was tazed, she said. Earlier in this most recent jail stay, Dillard was out of control and had to be placed in a four-point restraints until he agreed to take his medication.

While the incident is under investigation, the whole ordeal brings up a new call for help when it comes to dealing with those with mental health issues. All of the facts still need to come out, but on the surface I think it's fair to ask .. Where are the programs for the folks? What are deputies supposed to do in these cases?

Many will immediately recall the case of Mark McCullough, another man with mental health issues who died in the jail after being beaten and restrained by deputies. The officers were later found not guilty or had their charged dropped in court.

The entire incident screamed for an assessment of how we as a community are taking care of mental health cases and whether the jail is the best place for these folks to continue to be held.

I don't have the answer, but it does seem that something needs to change here.


Anonymous said...

He was arrested for doing drugs-so he obviously doesnt care about his own life. He deserved to be tazered for attaching police officers. If he was a good guy he would not have been in jail on drug charges.

Anonymous said...

When are people going to finally admit that tasers kill innocent people. It doesn't take much for the police to whip them out and use them as torture. The President wants to stop torture at Guantanemo about stopping it at the Summit County Jail?! I hope the next Judge doesn't take away the rights of the Summit County Coroner on this case like he did on Mark McCallaugh's. I am glad to see the Feds. are finally looking into some of these unaccountable deaths in Akron.