Naked man tased by police later dies, woman who witnessed event speaks out

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Neighbors called police after they saw a naked man running through their neighborhood last weekend. Kansas City police officers arrived. They tased the suspect, who later died. He's been identified as 38-year-old Eugene Williams.

FOX 4's Melissa Stern spoke with a woman who witnessed what happened.

"I was basically being nosy and I pulled up and I saw a man drop," Lela Shaw, witness, said.

Shaw said she was driving down Cleveland when she saw police.

"My next door neighbor saw him laying in the street," said Anthony Smith, the man Williams considered his father figure. "I thought he was talking fast, he was talking too fast, and laughing at the same time, and sweat was dripping off of his face."

According to the police report, around 5:30 p.m. Saturday, people called police to report a naked man running around jumping in front of cars. Police believe he was high on PCP.

"They tased him, and if they tase somebody like that who has an asthma problem, they could die from that," Smith said.

Police said Williams approached  the officer who then tased Williams. William was handcuffed and EMS was called. EMS told police that Williams did not have a pulse and started CPR.

"Yeah, I think it could have been avoided, I don't think they should have tased him because you never know if someone has heart problems or they're mentally ill."

Smith says Eugene has asthma among other medical problems. He was taken to the hospital and died later that night.

"If he was naked why would you take a taser out and tase somebody?" Smith said. "I think that's stupid."

"Just kind of in shock," adds Shaw.

"Policeman don't get a lot of things right, and they're so quick to pull the trigger on different things, but all they need to do is say something," Smith says.

Police say the officer involved responded according to protocol.

This case is still under investigation.

 

 

 

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17 comments

  • Mike

    You ever try to tackle a naked guy you think is high on PCP? First off, you don’t have much to grab to get a good hold on him, he won’t feel pain to make him comply, and he could just have easily died from being dog piled on by the cops needed to take him down, then the cops would be at risk for injury too. Using the Taser at that moment was the sound decision to make. Wait for the autopsy to determine the cause of death before making assumptions. I also fail to see how being mentally ill is a get out of being tasered free card. If you pose a danger to yourself or others and shooting you isn’t an option, a quick way to place restraints on somebody having a freak out without letting him injure somebody is to tase him. I agree there are many instances of police misusing the taser. This is not one of them based on the information.

  • Helen Ryan

    He was running down the street naked not attacking anyone or even trying to attack anyone. He was talking very fast, so what when did that become a reason to tase someone? Like you said lets wait and see what the autopsy says and yes they do misuse the tazer, the guns and the authority they are given.

    • Mike

      The taser use is mostly on a case by case basis when it can be argued that the suspect displays aggression, being naked in public, talking fast, and running around can give the officer the sense that this person is unstable and unpredictable. The news article said the suspect approached the officer. This can be seen as an act of aggression coming from an unstable or unpredictable person. I want you to youtube the video of the San Francisco naked guy in the subway who starts chasing and terrorizing the woman. He was allowed to run amok and assault innocent bystanders. Would have been over a lot quicker if one of those security guards had a taser. I know that this case isn’t the case in the news, but it has similarities.

  • CT

    Tasers are deadly force a certain percentage of time; that is a fact. Like a bullet from a gun kills you a certain percentage of the time depending where you’re shot. When are the police going to alter their training in regards to the numbers of people killed each year by Taser? The police department is culpable again for using unreasonable deadly force. Deadly force is an excessive reaction to this. The fact that it is supported by the policy means you get to sue the bejesus out of them.

  • CT

    Mike, using deadly force was not called for. Agree? Tasers are deadly force a percentage of the time just as much as a bullet kills you some of the time depending on where you are struck. Are you saying the police were justified in using deadly force in killing this unarmed man?

    • Mike

      tasers are not considered deadly force. They can result in fatalities when combined with other circumstances, like drug abuse. I do not believe the man deserved to die based on running around possibly high. Since 2001 there have been a few more than 380 deaths that occurred after a taser was used in law enforcement activity. Medical examiners could only attribute as a contributing factor or sole cause or could not rule out the taser in about 30 of those deaths according to the law officer website legal researchers. You are nearly as likely to get killed by lightning as you are a taser in the USA. How many times are tasers employed daily at a national level? When you compare the numbers its a minor thing. All deaths are sad and should be scrutinized but you anti-taser freaks blow things out of proportion.

      • CT

        Wow. An accurate title of your reply is: “Street Execution by Taser is Statistically Acceptable”. Also, you left out the stat’s for the probably 1,000’s of people in that time frame like that poor 17 year old kid Tasered a few weeks ago to get him out of the car, unarmed and nonthreatening as he was, now slowly recovering from a severe brain injury. Go ahead and argue the stats, irrelevant they are unless zero…you’d think differently if that were your son or father. Dis-compassionate and cold statistics they are; un-American, unjust, they ring. Also you/anyone might consider a “law officer website” not to be the most objective of legal sources. You think? As for name calling me/others a freak, it does help make your character more clear, and helps to frame the value of your opinion. But thank you for the numbers, biased as they are, clear still at least on how many times that law enforcement legal experts have admitted that Tasers are and have been deployed as deadly force.

      • Should have done this or that

        Mike maybe CT is right? For now on criminal should be greeted with a hug and thank you card for being such a great stand up innocent citizen. And all officers should be issued super soakers 1000 becuase every decision they make will ALWAYS be wrong, so why not pull a watergun on everybody since they are all innocent and would never do drugs or hurt anybody.

      • Mike

        Okay, I will give you this as I take some numbers from a different source. According to the Info Wars website (I’m sure people like you will listen to that one) they claim that 790 people died after being tased and the taser is the sole cause since 1984. Wow, thats a lot of people isn’t it? Not really that’s only 26-27 people a year. Of all the people who get tased daily only 26 are going to die either due to a pre-existing medical condition, being on drugs, or in a state of excited delirium. Those risk factors contribute to the taser deaths, two of those being potentially hazardous to innocent bystanders and the cops themselves as well as generally putting the perpetrator at increased risk for other things, and generally the perp had some control over them from the beginning. People on drugs are more likely to die of the situations they get themselves in than overdosing (well, not first time users who don’t know how much is good and how much kills you anyway). When a cop pulls a taser they don’t think “Oh man I am so going to murder this person today” It’s more along the lines of “I need to get this person in restraints with the least amount of full contact that puts us both at risk.” In 2000 the world health organization stated that about 54 people had died of bee stings, is it time to wage war on the bees? Screw honey based sweeteners and pollinating our crops, people are dying man! Your comment should be titled “Man touts benefits of Anarchy: Hey at least it isn’t a cop doing the killing.”

  • Should have done this or that

    Ohhhh god here we go!!! ” I think this could have been avoided.” Blah Blah Blah they should’ve done this or that. Shut up!! 99.9% he was most likely on PCP. If you have never dealt with someone on PCP then you should not be commenting on this news report. It’s a shame that this man died…but they had every right to use the amount of force that was used. So glad everybody is a police officer when it comes to witnessing a crime.

  • Sheila Baker

    it’s too bad the police did not have time to “interview” this guy and make sure he had no illnesses and was not on a drug induced high. this guy on PCP brought this all on himself. the police were actually trying to protect him from harming himself and anyone else. It is sad that he had to pass on but was clearly headed in that direction on his own. i want the lady who saw this and said they shouldn’t have used the taser to next time go out and stop the person on her own. you cannot talk to, reason with or control someone on PCP.

  • Tired of the B.S

    First it is “why did they have to shoo, they could have used a taser or pepper spray. ” Now it is “why did they have to use a taser?” Give me a break! Maybe they should just pat folks on the head and say run along now, go on home.

  • Lisa

    If the person “has asthma or heart problems…” then why in the hell are they ALSO taking PCP??? That’s the most ridiculous reasoning I have heard yet. Always an excuse for stupid behavior but never any ownership of stupid acts!

  • Joe Riff Raff

    The taser was originally to be used for self defense purposes. That’s how Taser International advertised the taser. But Police Officers still use gunsThe taser was originally to be used for self defense purposes. That’s how Taser International advertised the taser. But Police Officers still use guns for that. Nowadays the taser is used improperly and to punish suspects. The result is suspect death. for that. Nowadays the taser is used improperly and to punish suspects. The result is suspect death.