New details have emerged regarding an investigation involving a man tased multiple times until dead by police.
Two East Point, Georgia Police officers are still on paid administrative leave in connection with the April 11 death of local resident Gregory Towns, 24. Police were responding to call for domestic violence when Towns ran after being confronted.
A Georgia State Bureau of Investigation report confirms Towns was stunned by a taser at least three times, while handcuffed, even though he pleaded with officers to let him catch his breath before standing up.
Police officer statements indicate Towns was tased because he would not stand up at the command of officers. Reports do not assert that Towns was aggressive or combative.
Towns expired on scene. A Fulton County medical examiner confirmed the manner of death has been ruled a homicide saying that extensive physical activity and electrocution contributed to his’ death.
The death certificate also lists Sickle Cell trait, dehydration and obesity as significant contributing conditions. The Towns family attorney, Chris Stewart however, is only concerned with one word listed under the manner of death: homicide.
“It’s significant because the death certificate easily could have said that he died of natural causes, but instead it’s been ruled a homicide,” Stewart said. “Which means he was shocked to death.”
In Georgia, homicide is broken down into four primary classifications:
- Murder, 1st degree – homicide that is calculated and planned with malice.
- Murder, 2nd degree – homicide committed with malice but is not premeditated. (in the heat of the moment)
- Manslaughter – differs from murder in that the person who commits homicide does so without intent but with criminal negligence. Reckless use of a firearm, animal, vehicle, etc. could be considered criminal negligence.
- Involuntary Manslaughter – when a person kills someone doing something legal in an illegal way. For example, when a person is killed by a DUI driver.
Homicide can also be ruled as “justifiable.” In certain circumstances, homicide is justified when it prevents greater harm to innocents. A homicide can only be justified if there is sufficient evidence to prove that it was reasonable to believe that the offending party posed an imminent threat to the life or well-being of another.
Legal analysts Police State Daily spoke with from the Rutherford Institute said the officers involved are not expected to be granted with qualified immunity for their actions, and that charges of manslaughter are most likely.
The East Point Police Department refused to comment on an “ongoing investigation.”