Man dies in custody after Oakland police deploy taser

Automobile debris and crime scene tape remained at the intersection of Cortland and Foothill early Friday morning near where an Oakland police officer tasered a man. Photo by Brian Krans.

Automobile debris and crime scene tape remained at the intersection of Cortland and Foothill early Friday morning near where an Oakland police officer tasered a man. Photo by Brian Krans.

A man died Thursday while in the custody of Oakland police after being tased and arrested at the scene of a multi-vehicle crash in the Fruitvale neighborhood, according to a statement released this morning by Oakland Police Department Public Information Officer Johnna Watson.

The police have not yet released any identifying information about the man.

Police officers arrived at the scene of the crash, where injuries had been reported, on the 4100 block of Foothill Boulevard around 2:30 pm, according to Watson’s statement. The statement did not offer any details about the cause of the crash, but stated that the man “was identified as being involved in the vehicle collision and attempting to flee the scene.”

The release states that the man was being “physically resistant” towards the officers arresting him. “During the detention, an electronic control weapon (TASER—intermediate force option) was deployed” and the arrest was made, the press release continues.

After tasing him, the officers called for emergency services. The man was taken to a hospital and died there Thursday evening, according to the statement.

“Although a TASER was involved in this incident, at this time, the cause of death is undetermined,” Watson’s release states. The cause of the man’s death will be determined by the staff of the Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau.

According to the Oakland police statement, the man’s death is being investigated by the department’s Homicide Section and Internal Affairs Division, and a separate investigation is being carried out by Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley and her staff.

The man’s arrest happened just a few minutes’ drive from Fruitvale BART Station, where Oscar Grant III, a 22-year-old unarmed African-American man, was shot and killed on January 1, 2009 by Johannes Mehserle, then a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer. Grant was face-down on the train platform, and passengers captured cell phone video of Mehserle firing a single shot into Grant’s back. Mehserle claimed in court to have mistaken his gun for his Taser.

Protests followed both the shooting of Grant, and Mehserle’s conviction for involuntary manslaughter, for which the former officer served 11 months of a two-year sentence.

The police statement also noted that people with information can contact the Homicide Section at (510) 238- 3821, or their tip line at (510) 777-7950.

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