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Taser Death Watch 2009: 15-year-old Bay City, MI teen

Damon's picture

The story is still developing, but, what we do know is that police in Bay City, Michigan tasered a 15-year-old boy in response to a fight:

BAY CITY, Mich. -- A 15-year-old is dead after Bay City police officers used a Taser stun gun on him.

It happened at about 3:40 a.m. Sunday when officers were dispatched to a home in the 200 block of South Catherine Street.

Police told TV5 that two men were arguing. Police said they attempted to diffuse the situation but the teen attempted to fight the officers. Police used a Taser in an effort to subdue him.

Officers at the scene called an ambulance after seeing the teen’s reaction to the Taser, police said. He was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

This kid better have been a veritble giant, and I'm talking a "fie, fye, foe, fum/Bones to Bread" giant, too.

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Submitted by hipparchia on

i'm still looking for something to link to to back me up on this, but i am apparently far from being alone in remembering that tasers were first introduced as less-lethal weapons, but were to be used only in situations calling for deadly force. nowadays they're sometimes referred to as less-than-lethal, and both the manufacturer and police forces say no, we're disremembering, tasers were always meant to be used as non-lethal weapons.

certainly in florida, taser use is taken rather lightly.

Submitted by hipparchia on

no, those weren't the ones i was remembering, but i'll add them to my bookmarks [which i didn't do with the ones i want now. grrr].

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

Yes, details are developing, and like usual, for the worse:

Elder conceded his son - Brett L. Elder - had been drinking alcohol Saturday night before police subdued him early Sunday morning with a Taser following a disturbance in a Bay City apartment.

But relatives said 15-year-old Brett "Dewey" Elder stood 5-foot-6 and weighed about 140 pounds. They said he was no match for three Bay City Police Department officers who encountered him in the sitting room of Cindy Hernden's apartment at 210 S. Catherine St.


Cindy Hernden said six people were spending the night at her apartment, and one of them told Brett Elder to quiet down, "and at that point he kind of grabbed her and put her in a headlock."

Hernden said she then dialed 911, and believes the boyfriend of the woman also dialed for police.


Eugene Elder Sr. said his late son loved to ride bicycles with him, and would have turned 16 on Tuesday. He said his son had undergone treatment for alcohol abuse, but had been avoiding alcohol in recent weeks.

"He didn't like cops because he knows the rest of us don't, but he wasn't out to get them," Elder said.

Brett Elder's aunt, Dorothy A. Hendrix of Bay City, said Brett Elder was "devastated" by the death of his mother in September.

"He didn't even weigh 150 pounds," Hendrix said. "They Tasered a little kid."

A tragedy all around. This hurts.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

Y mas

Bay City Police Chief Michael Cecchini said officers "immediately rendered aid" after using a Taser on 15-year-old Brett Elder, who died Sunday after the incident.

With Bay City Mayor Charles M. Brunner and City Manager Robert V. Belleman standing behind him in the Bay City Commission Chambers, Cecchini offered condolences to Elder's family during a press conference this morning.

City police, however, didn't allow relatives of the late teen into the room to hear the police chief read from a prepared written statement.

Cecchini, the mayor, the city manager and Deputy Police Chief Thomas Pletzke immediately walked out a side door after the chief's statement, fielding no questions from the press.

Wendy Elder, 34, the late teenager's sister-in-law, said Cecchini's account of police rendering aid immediately is not accurate.

"I was there, and the police didn't do anything," said Elder, reacting to the account Cecchini gave to the media.

"The police didn't do (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and they didn't let us do CPR," Elder said. "I don't have a CPR certification any more, but I wanted to help him."
Brett L. Elder

Brett Elder died Sunday morning after a Bay City officer used a Taser to subdue him. Wendy Elder said minutes elapsed as police officers kept her away from the teenager as officers waited for medical personnel to come to the scene.

Relatives and friends said Brett Elder had consumed alcohol before police encountered him at 3:40 a.m. inside an apartment at 210 S. Catherine St.

No date and time has been set for Brett Elder's funeral. Ambrose Funeral Home of Bay City will handle arrangements.

Jessica Gregory, 27, of Bay City, a friend of the late Brett Elder, fought off tears after reading a copy of Cecchini's written statement handed to her by the media.

"Brett could have been saved," Gregory said. "This didn't have to happen."

Michigan State Police officers are investigating Brett Elder's death, and Cecchini said his department is "cooperating fully" with state police investigators.

The Bay City Police Department also is investigating whether officers followed department policy in firing the Taser, according to the police chief.

Jessica Gregory criticized city police officers for not allowing friends and relatives of the late Brett Elder to attend Tuesday's press briefing.

About 16 people gathered in a parking lot along Tenth Street near City Hall immediately after the briefing, some expressing anger at being denied entrance to Commission Chambers.

"Haven't we lost enough already?" Gregory said. "They're gonna take this away from us, too? We have a right to be there."

I think it's a bit more than distateful that the mayor and city manager have already rendered their verdict with their presence. They didn't need to be at the appearance.