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Man in custody dies after IMPD uses Taser, then puts on handcuffs

UPDATE: The victim has been identified as 39-year-old Herman Whitfield III.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A man died Monday after an Indianapolis police officer activated a Taser twice to try to subdue him, police say.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department was called about 3:20 a.m. Monday to a disturbance in a home in the 3700 block of Marrison Place. That’s off North Sherman Drive south of 46th Street on the city’s northeast side.

Officers arrived to find the man and his parents in the home. The father told officers that his son was “having a psychosis.” Officers called for an ambulance, as the father had requested, and began communicating with the son to prepare him for traveling in the ambulance.

“The man was moving around the home, naked and sweating. Officers observed the male was bleeding from the mouth,” said an IMPD news release issued Monday night.

Police said the son’s size — 6 feet 2 inches tall and 280 pounds — complicated efforts to take him into custody and get him care.

Officers used negotiating and de-escalation tactics with the son, IMPD said. However, when the son moved quickly toward one officer, that officer deployed a Taser. The device was activated twice, delivering two five-second shocks, but the son continued to resist.

The son eventually was placed into two pairs of linked handcuffs due to his size, IMPD said.

Medics then came into the home and asked the son to roll over, but he didn’t respond.

“After medics checked for a pulse, the male was unhandcuffed, and medics and several officers administered CPR,” the release said.

The son, who was not identified in the release, was taken to a hospital, where he died. The Marion County Coroner’s Office will conduct an autopsy and later share the his name, age, and cause of death.

As is standard, the officers involved have been placed on administrative leave. A criminal investigation and an administrative investigation are being done. The Use of Force Review Board will look into the officers’ use of force as the investigations are completed. The officer who activated the Taser was not identified in the release.

The Police Officer Support Team provided peer support for officers.

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