Ottawa County Sheriff issues statement on tasing incident

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MINNEAPOLIS, Kan. (KWCH) A day after Eyewitness News first showed you a video of a deputy using a taser on a man in a nursing home, we're learning more about the investigation by the Ottawa County Sheriff.

Ottawa County Sheriff Keith Coleman sent Eyewitness News a statement Friday afternoon, calling the use of a taser the "best possible alternative" to physical force.

In March, an undersheriff with the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office tased a 91-year-old man with Alzheimer's at a Minneapolis nursing home because the man would not get in a car to go to the doctor. The man died in May and his family says they do think the incident in March contributed to his death.

Friday, the Sheriff sent the statement, saying in part both he and the county attorney reviewed the available evidence and determined it was the best possible alternative because the situation would otherwise have resulted in the application of physical force.

The statement ends by saying the taser had a significantly lower risk of injury than the use of physical force.

Eyewitness News has been looking into Ottawa County's use of force policy, to determine exactly when deputies are authorized to use tasers. We've filed open records requests to have access to those policies.

This is the full statement released by Coleman:
The incident that took place on March 29, 2016, at the Minneapolis Good Samaritan Center involved two Law Enforcement Agencies, and a total of three officers. Two of the officers were from the Minneapolis Police Department, and one officer was from the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department. The Minneapolis Police Department was the primary responding agency and, after assessing the situation, requested back up from the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department.

During the incident an Ottawa County Sheriff’s officer did deploy an Electronic Control Device (Taser).

The available evidence from this incident was reviewed by me and the Ottawa County Attorney. During our investigation, it was determined that the officers’ use of the Electronic Control Device was the best possible alternative because the situation would otherwise have resulted in the application of physical force. In this situation, the deployment of a Taser had a significantly lower risk of injury than the use of physical force.