INDIANAPOLIS — A man who was tasered twice by an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer died early Monday morning while in custody, police said.
IMPD officers were called out around 3:20 a.m. Sunday to a residence on Indy’s northeast side for a disturbance. Upon arrival to the residence at the 3700 block of Marrison Place, officers said they made contact with an adult male and his parents inside.
The Marion County Coroner’s Office identified the man as 39-year-old Herman Whitfield III.
The man’s father told officers the man was “having a psychosis,” police said, and an ambulance was immediately called. While waiting for medics to arrive, Whitfield was allegedly moving around the home, naked and sweating, and officers said he was bleeding from his mouth.
Officers said they began to talk with Whitfield, who was 6’2″ and 280 pounds, to prepare him for the ambulance. IMPD added that he moved around the house during this time and that officers lost sight of him several times.
After over 10 minutes of negotiations between Whitfield and IMPD, he allegedly ran toward an officer. The officer then used his Taser, police said, hitting him in the chest with at least one of the two prongs and activating twice for five seconds each.
Whitfield allegedly continued to resist after the taser was used. IMPD said officers then placed him in two pair of linked handcuffs.
Medics, who had been waiting outside until it was safe to enter, came in once he was detained. They then asked him to roll over, but he was unresponsive.
They checked his pulse and uncuffed him, police said. Medics also began administering CPR. Whitfield was then taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead soon after arrival.
The officers who were directly involved have been placed on administrative leave, as IMPD said is standard procedure in this type of investigation. Multiple officers were wearing body cameras, which were activated during this incident.
The IMPD Critical Incident Response Team went to the scene to conduct a criminal investigation. A separate administrative investigation is also being conducted by IMPD Internal Affairs and the Indianapolis-Marion County Forensic Services Agency.
The civilian-majority Use of Force Review Board will also be conducting a review of the officers’ use of force. This will occur after the conclusion of the criminal and administrative investigations are complete.
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