Raleigh police say man died after they used Taser to subdue him

tmcdonald@newsobserver.comApril 10, 2013 

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Police say a man died after a Taser device was used on him when he became “physically aggressive” with officers early Wednesday near the intersection of Wiggs and Mial streets in the Five Points neighborhood.

TAKAAKI IWABU — tiwabu@newsobserver.com

  • Other recent stun-gun deaths in North Carolina

    • July 2012: Robeson County deputies received a call about a man assaulting people at a store in Parkton. When officers arrived, they said the man attacked them and tried to steal a patrol car. Deputies say the man was shot once with the stun gun but that he kept attacking officers, so he was shot a second time. The man kept fighting with deputies for a short time, then collapsed.

    • August 2011: Fayetteville police received a call about a man acting strangely and attempting to jump into the path of cars on the road. Three officers struggled with him and used a Taser just before the man collapsed and died.

    • July 2008: A man who had been jailed after a shoplifting arrest got into an altercation in a hallway when at least one police officer and possibly a jailer used a Taser on him. He later died at a hospital. An autopsy found that the man had traces of cocaine in urine samples taken shortly before his death.

    • April 2008: Four Greensboro officers used a Taser three times on a man who was pulled over for speeding after the man resisted the officers. They called an ambulance after the man began bleeding from the mouth. The man appeared to have a seizure and go into cardiac arrest in the ambulance and died at a hospital five days later. An autopsy report concluded the man died from complications of cocaine toxicity.

    • March 2008: A 17-year-old shocked with a Taser by police after an altercation at a Charlotte grocery store died from cardiac arrest, according to an autopsy. Police confronted the teen during an argument with the manager of the store and say he threw something at the manager, ignored commands and approached the officer, who used a Taser. The boy’s heart was pumping so fast and chaotically from the Taser shot and the stress of the confrontation that it stopped pumping blood properly. The autopsy found no relevant pre-existing conditions.

    • January 2007: Gaston County police officers received calls about a driver who hit three vehicles and a house and arrived to find a man nude and running down the street. Police said the man was uncooperative and resisted arrest, and two of the officers used Tasers on him. The man became unconscious and died.

— Police say a man died after he became “physically aggressive” with officers early Wednesday and they used a Taser device to subdue him.

Police identified the man as Thomas Jeffery Sadler, 45.

They say officers responded to a call about a naked man shouting obscenities near the intersection of Wiggs and Mial streets in the Five Points neighborhood about 3:45 a.m.

After officers used the Taser, Sadler collapsed and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Police have not released information about how officers used the Taser, a type of stun gun. The Raleigh Police Department has asked the State Bureau of Investigation to look into Sadler’s death.

A man who called police said Sadler lived in a rental house on Mial Street and that he was walking around the Emmanuel Baptist Church parking lot yelling, according to a recording of the 911 call released Wednesday afternoon.

Sue Stevick also called 911. Stevick, who lives two doors down from Sadler, was awakened by a woman’s piercing scream and looked out to see Sadler, whom she described as “a big fella” who stood about 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighed about 300 pounds.

“He was dropping the ‘F’ bomb a lot and he kept saying, ‘I told her. I told her,’ ” Stevick said Wednesday. “He was flailing around in the parking lot, cursing and buck-naked with nothing on.”

Stevick said Sadler had moved into the neighborhood with the woman and a teenage boy about two years ago.

Although Stevick and Sadler were never formally introduced, the two would wave to one another when she saw him jogging through the neighborhood.

“I would see them when I was out walking my dog,” Stevick said. “They seemed to keep to themselves.”

Sadler, a native of Powhatan, Va., was on probation after he was convicted in 2010 of a felony probation violation. He had been convicted of felony speeding to elude arrest in 2007 in Gaston County and was also convicted that year in Powhatan, Va., of felony possession of a weapon of mass destruction, according to state records.

Sadler’s family could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Stevick did not witness the confrontation with police and still wasn’t sure what had happened to Sadler until she hopped into her pickup truck Wednesday morning to head downtown where she volunteers at a church. As she drove away, she looked in the rear-view mirror and saw her neighbor lying in the middle of the street, covered by a white sheet.

McDonald: 919-829-4533

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