Man Dies After South Bay Police Hit Him With Stun Gun

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.

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