A Florida man died after sheriff’s deputies brutally tased him to death. A lawyer for the family said the deputies should have stopped tasing him when he stopped struggling.
Mark Winne, WSB-TV Channel 2, obtained body camera video that shows Coweta County sheriff’s deputies struggling to subdue 32-year-old Chase Sherman in the back of an SUV along Interstate 85 last Nov. 20.
The deputies responded to Sherman’s mother calling 911.
Winne reported that she told the dispatcher that she was in a car with her husband, her son and her son’s girlfriend. She said her son was “freaking out” and had taken a synthetic drug known as Spice.
The video shows the deputies approach the vehicle and start struggling with Sherman, with someone yelling, “Tase him!” and “Hit him!” as he cries out and his mother begs them to stop.
“What’s your problem, buddy?” one deputy says. “That’s a good way to get shot right there. I tell you right now, you grab my Taser again, it’s going to be on.”
The deputies then insist that Sherman’s mother and girlfriend in the front seat get away from the area.
“You’re not going to shoot him, you hear me,” Sherman’s mother says in the video.
The deputies say Sherman broke their radio as they tried to call for help, and they tell the family they’re subduing Sherman for their own protection.
The video continues to show deputies struggling with Sherman until he eventually stops moving and they realize he’s not breathing. Sherman was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“Just shocked. I miss him. I miss him every single day. I feel like those cops should have stopped when he said quit,” Sherman’s brother said.
Coweta County Sheriff’s Office records from Sherman’s death show that one deputy’s stun gun was used nine times in a 2 1/2-minute span, for a total of 47 seconds, including one use that lasted 17 seconds.
The other deputy’s stun gun was used six times in just over 4 minutes, for a total of 29 seconds.
Coweta Judicial Circuit District Attorney Peter Skandalakis said in a statement Friday that his office has not finished reviewing the case and the investigation is ongoing. Col. James Yarbrough said Friday that the two deputies remain on the job.
“I pray for justice,” Sherman’s father told Winne on Friday.
The family’s attorney, Chris Stewart, has said the records show that the deputies used the stun guns too many times on a handcuffed man.
“I’m happy that the DA released (the video). I think that’s a positive step to let people see and judge for themself,” Stewart said.
Sherman’s death certificate lists his death as a homicide and lists the cause as “sudden death during an altercation with law enforcement with several trigger pulls of an electronic control device, prone positioning on the floor of a motor vehicle and compression of the torso by the body weight of another individual.”