Capital Offense

by digby

The latest taser death:

A man died Saturday after a Sonoma County Sheriff's deputy responding to a violent attack in a Santa Rosa home stunned him three times with a Taser, according to the sheriff's office.

Nathan Vaughn, 39, was throwing and breaking things inside a home on Brighton Drive when the deputy arrived at the house, the sheriff's office said in a statement today. The deputy stunned Vaughn once, then hit him two more times when Vaughn continued to fight.

The deputy, who has not been named, was able to handcuff Vaughn, but shortly thereafter Vaughn showed signs of medical problems, according to the sheriff's office. An ambulance crew already on the scene treated Vaughn and took him to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

The incident started at about 10:30 a.m. Saturday when Vaughn's mother, Doris Vaughn, called 911 and told a dispatcher that her son was "very violent" and was "destroying the house" and "hitting his dad," according to the Sheriff's Department.

Vaughn's father, Ronald Vaughn, suffered multiple cuts and bruises in the incident, none of which required immediate medical attention, according to the Sheriff's Department.

Investigators later learned that deputies had responded to another disturbance at the same house at 4:30 a.m. Friday. No one was arrested in that incident, but Nathan Vaughn was taken from the home to stay with friends.

Shortly after deputies left Vaughn, he went to a pay phone and made several calls to 911 but hung up on dispatchers, according to the sheriff's office. Deputies then arrested Vaughn for making repeated, unnecessary emergency calls. Vaughn was cited and released from Sonoma County Jail at about 1:30 p.m. Friday.

Vaughn had an "extensive" history of arrests and convictions in a 15-page criminal history report, according to the sheriff's office. He had been convicted multiple times for drug possession and being under the influence. He also had several theft-related convictions and had served time in state prison for burglary, according to the sheriff's office.

He does sound like a very messed up guy and I don't doubt that the officers were in a dangerous situation. But the last I heard we hadn't yet instituted the death penalty for making unnecessary emergency calls, drug addiction, throwing stuff or even assault. And even then, I would expect they'd have some kind of due process. But with our wonderful non-lethal taser weapons, the state seems to be saving a lot of time and money by frequently electrocuting people to death right on the spot.

h/t to teddysanfran