Man dies after Raleigh police use stun gun on him
Posted April 10, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Police say a man died early Wednesday morning near Raleigh's Five Points neighborhood after authorities used a Taser device to try to bring him under control.
Officers were called to the intersection of Wiggs and Mial streets behind Emmanuel Baptist Church around 3:45 a.m. after they received a report of a naked man in the church parking lot yelling obscenities "at the top of his lungs," according to a 911 call in the case.
"The subject became physically aggressive in his dealings with officers, and a conducted-energy device was deployed," police spokesman Jim Sughrue said.
The man, identified as Thomas Jeffery Sadler, 45, collapsed and died. An autopsy will determine his cause of death.
Neighbors said they heard a woman's "blood-curdling scream" from Sadler's home shortly before seeing him outside.
"I saw him up there in the parking lot cursing, F-bombs everywhere, the whole bit," Sue Stevick said.
Neighbors also said that Sadler usually kept to himself. Donna Blasko said she would often see him in yard on the phone but never met him until Monday night while she was driving home from shopping.
"It was a strange encounter," she said. "He kind of ran out in front of my car, stopped me, and I rolled my window down, and he said, 'What's with all the cars going down the street?'"
Blasko was unsure of what he was talking about, she said, adding that Sadler then walked away.
According to court records, Sadler was on probation for a speeding to elude arrest charge in Virginia. He had also been convicted of possessing a weapon of mass destruction in Gaston County in 2007.
The State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the case, which is standard protocol in police-involved deaths.
Raleigh Police Department policy dictates that conducted-energy devices "may be used when it is necessary to incapacitate or gain compliance from a person that is actively resisting or exhibiting active aggression, or to prevent individuals from harming themselves or others."
Police said the case has nothing to do with the church, but the death still stunned church employees arriving for work Wednesday morning.
"It was really scary. Here is a nice beautiful neighborhood," Portia Perry said. "You don't see things like this every day, so it was kind of nerve-wracking."