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US man dies in Taser incident

Maryland deputy on admin leave following fatal intervention

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A 20-year-old man died yesterday in Frederick City, Maryland, after being tasered by a police deputy, the Frederick News Post reports.

The victim, identified by friends and relatives as Jarrel Gray, was allegedly involved in a fight with three other people in Gresham Court East early on Sunday morning. The unnamed deputy responded to reports of the altercation shortly before 5am, "found four people fighting outside and deployed a Taser", according to police spokeswoman Cpl Jennifer Bailey.

Bailey added that the man "fell on the ground unconscious and was given first aid on the scene, then taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital where he was later pronounced dead".

Daniel Lugo, Gray's friend and neighbour, said "he, Gray and some other friends, got home from a party early Sunday morning". Although he did not witness the Taser incident, he claimed "a friend told him a few people were pretending to fight and a neighbour might have called police, concerned that they were actually fighting".

Lugo explained that police "commanded everyone there to get on the ground", and that the friend said the deputy "struck Gray with a Taser and administered multiple shocks for several seconds, even though Gray had said, 'I'm on the ground'."

Gray's mother, Tanya Thomas, explained her son was "deaf in one ear and might not have heard the commands as well as others", although his family said he was in good health at the time of his death.

Thomas added: "All I know is there was an altercation, they Tased him and now he's gone. My baby's gone. I just need answers. I want to know what happened to my son."

Police spokeswoman Bailey said she "could not provide details about Gray's health, nor could she say anything about how many shocks were administered". She did confirm, though, that the deputy in question had been placed on "administrative leave with pay".

The Frederick News Post notes: "More than 80 police agencies in Maryland are equipped with Tasers, according to Taser International, the weapon's manufacturer." It describes the Taser as a "less-than-lethal weapon [which is] part of a deputy's regular equipment". ®

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