An investigation has continued today into the death of a 26-year-old San Jose man who was Tasered by a Campbell police officer after a struggle with Santa Clara County sheriff's deputies.
Sheriff's deputies were dispatched at about 11:20 p.m. to the Valley Medical Center at 751 S. Bascom Ave. after receiving a 911 call from a family member of the man, sheriff's Sgt. Don Morrissey said.
A disturbance between family members had turned into a physical fight, Morrissey said.
Moments after arriving, the deputies began to struggle with the man who allegedly was causing the disturbance and called for assistance by additional deputies.
Campbell police Agent Gary Berg, 31, was following up on an unrelated matter at the medical center and was about to leave when he saw deputies struggling with the man outside the hospital, Campbell police Capt. David Dehaan said.
The man, standing 6 feet tall and weighing about 260 pounds, was failing to comply with deputies' requests, Morrissey said.
Berg got out of his car and went over to render aid.
"In the process of helping them gain control of the man, our officer deployed his Taser," Dehaan said.
The man was then taken into custody, but deputies noticed he was unresponsive.
The deputies and officers started CPR on the man, who was taken to the emergency room at the medical center where further efforts to revive him were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead, according to the sheriff's office.
The man's name has not been released.
An investigation into the incident is being conducted by the sheriff's office with monitoring from the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, Morrissey said.
The Campbell Police Department has also offered assistance, Dehaan said. Meanwhile, Berg has been placed on paid administrative leave while the death is being investigated per department protocol.
"We offer our sympathy and we recognize the sadness the family feels upon the death of this young man," Dehaan said. "We pledge our full support in efforts being made to investigate and understand the events that led to his death."
Campbell police issued Tasers and trained all field personnel on using the devices in September 2004, according to Dehaan.
Since Tasers were issued, the department has tracked 60 incidents in which the stun guns were deployed. In 29 of the cases, officers were able to gain compliance by simply un-holstering and showing the devices without attempting to deliver a shock.
The 31 other cases involved an attempt to shock or a shock actually being delivered, Dehaan said.
"We have not had any injuries resulting from use of the Taser other than in a few cases cuts from the barbs," Dehaan said. "It's a low to intermediate use of force application that can be used when reasonably necessary to gain compliance."
Dehaan said officers have various options available to them when it comes to levels of force short of using a handgun, which is considered lethal force. He noted a hands-on approach such as wrestling, pepper spray and a baton as examples.
"In comparison to other low or medium uses of force, generally Tasers result in fewer injuries and less serious injuries than those other options," Dehaan said.
A coroner's report on the man could take up to four months, according to the Santa Clara County medical examiner's office.