Cop Watch

Monday, September 12, 2005

Stun gun leaves man critical

A 43-year-old man was in critical condition in a Richmond hospital last night with a fractured skull after Colonial Beach police shot him with a Taser stun gun.

Police did not identify the man, citing his "degenerative brain disease." But they said in the news release that he was suicidal and threatening officers.

The man's sister, who did not wish to be identified, said her brother "wasn't doing anything to threaten the police" when he was shot on Irving Avenue around 9:45 a.m. Tuesday after spending three hours in the Potomac River evading police and rescue boats.

"He was nonviolent when he came out of the water," she said. "His legs were shaking and he could barely climb up the rocks to the street. All he wanted was a cigarette."

The woman, who said she was at the scene, said her brother "put his hands up. At least five officers were standing there. They could have tackled him. They didn't warn him or order him to get down. They just shot him."

The 50,000-volt shock of the Taser knocked the man "backwards like a tree," she said.

"I heard his head hit the pavement so hard. As soon as he hit the ground, blood came out of his nose," she said.