Thursday, September 20, 2007

Woman in Wheelchair Killed by Police; Shocked ten times by tasers

A Clay County woman's family said it's seeking justice after their loved one died shortly after being shocked 10 times with Taser guns during a confrontation with police.

The family of 56-year-old Emily Delafield said it would take the Green Cove Springs Police Department to court, according to a WJXT-TV report.

In April 2006, officers with the police department said they were called to a disturbance at a home in the 400 block of Harrison Street just before 5 p.m.

In a 911 call made to the Green Cove Springs, Delafield can be heard telling a dispatcher that she believed she was in danger:

Dispatcher: And what's the problem?

Delafield: My sister is waiting on my property.

Dispatcher: Your what?

Delafield: My sister (inaudible) is on my property trying to harm me.

Officers said they arrived to find Delafield in a wheelchair, armed with two knives and a hammer. Police said the woman was swinging the weapons at family members and police.

Within an hour of her call to 911, Delafield, a wheelchair-bound woman documented to have mental illness, was dead.

Family attorney Rick Alexander said Delafield's death could have been prevented and that there are four things that jump out at him about the case.

"One, she's in a wheelchair. Two, she's schizophrenic. Three, they're using a Taser on a person that's in a wheelchair, and then four is that they tasered her 10 times for a period of like two minutes," Alexander said.

According to a police report, one of the officers used her Taser gun nine times for a total of 160 seconds and the other officer discharged his Taser gun once for a total of no more than five seconds.

A medical examiner found Delafield died from hypertensive heart disease and cited the Taser gun shock as a contributing factor, the report said. On her death certificate, the medical examiner ruled Delafield's death a homicide.

The family said it plans to sue the Green Coves Springs Police Department now that it has all the reports regarding their loved one's death.

"We're going to try to compensate the estate and the family and try to get justice," Alexander said.

He said he believes the evidence weighs heavily in favor of Delafield's family and that justice will be served.

"I think that this evidence is going to show, along with some of the evidence we've collected outside of here, that there is no reason Emily Delafield should have died that day," Alexander said.

He said he plans to file a notice to sue sometime before the end of the year.

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