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Halifax County man dies after being shot with stun gun

Posted November 22, 2011
Updated November 23, 2011

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— A 61-year-old Halifax County man died Tuesday, a day after police shocked him with a stun gun while he was riding his bike, family members said.

Scotland Neck Police Chief Joe Williams said they received a call Monday night about a man who fell off of his bicycle and injured himself in the parking lot of the BB&T bank, 1001 Main St. The caller was concerned that the man was drunk.

When Officer John Turner arrived, he saw Roger Anthony pedaling away along 10th Street. He followed Anthony in his patrol car, briefly put on his sirens and lights and yelled out of the window for him to stop, but Anthony continued to ride away, police said.

Williams said Turner then saw Anthony take something out his pocket and put it into his mouth. At that time, Turner got out of the car and yelled for Anthony to stop. When Anthony didn't stop, the officer used a stun gun on him, causing him to fall off of his bike.

Anthony was transported to Pitt County Memorial Hospital, where he was declared brain dead, his sister Gladys Freeman said. He was taken off of life support on Tuesday.

Freeman said her brother was disabled, suffered from seizures and had trouble hearing. She said he was riding his bike home from her house on Sunday night. Anthony lived alone in an independent living community.

Williams would not comment further on the incident, citing an ongoing investigation. Turner, who has been on the force for just over a month, has been placed on administrative leave.

Scotland Neck Mayor James Mills is calling for the State Bureau of Investigation to look into what happened.

"The best we've been able to determine is that he offered no threat," Mills said.

Roger Anthony Halifax County man dies after stun gun shock

Milton Freeman said Anthony, his brother-in-law, used to smoke cigarettes, drink coffee and ride his bicycle around town. Anthony was nicknamed "Rabbit" because of his big ears.

"Why would you (use a stun gun on) a man on a bike? He didn’t do any crime. He wasn’t trying to escape. How (was) he going to escape on his bicycle?" Milton Freeman said.

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  • etherraichu Nov 25, 4:04 p.m.

    ilovefetus: I doubt it actually had much more to the story, aside from stuff no one can say yet. Simply put, he wasnt a young man. Any level of disability, especially that brought on by advanced age, can leave you susceptible to damage you or I would recover from rapidly.

    If I had to guess, and thankfully I do not, I would say it was probably just a combination of the shock, and the fall from his bike, which was moving at the time.

    I can tell you, the many times ive fallen off my bike among other things people fall off of, Ive been knocked unconscious like four times (bike twice, trampoline once, skiing once. That last one a doozy.) and thats while being young and able to at least mitigate damage.

    It doesnt make it any less of a crime of course. But I dont think, regarding that particular portion of the incident, anything more than what clearly happened needs to have happened.

  • ilovefetus Nov 24, 2:46 p.m.

    "...where he was declared brain dead..."

    Seems part of the story is missing, you don't just go from "Riding a bike" to "Brain dead" after being Tazed... Bro...

    Cop should be strung up by the gills.

  • 3quarters Nov 23, 7:13 p.m.

    Can anyone else here see the problem? WRAL is NOT reporting the WHOLE story. Why dont they just interview the officer? Oh, wait...they cant because he has been silenced. So, who is backing this officer? It is not the town officials b/c they NEVER do. Now, you wonder why your town is being taken over by drugs and crime? Its b/c your mayor goes on record with a personal opinion (clearly saying what he thinks the people want to hear) and the officer is left without any support. This just lets your citizens know that they can get away with anything b/c if you push hard enough, the police will back down to avoid bad publicity. Our officers are given the training and the tools to enforce the law and to protect us.

    Now, my thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Mr.Anthony, it hurts to lose a loved one no matter the cause. But also, think of the officer. He returns home to a family that loves him as well. People depend on him for love, support, food and shelter. What if he assumed that

  • sloan89 Nov 23, 6:17 p.m.

    If this gentleman was hearing impaired, he was at risk. I was traveling with a "hearing impaired" colleague of mind and as we boarded the airplane he was looking for a place to store his carry-on luggage. A steward behind him shouted that there was no overhead space and went after him, she was clearly upset because he appeared to ignore him. As she approached my seat I informed her that he was hearing impaired and her attitude did a complete turn around and she assisted my colleague in the most helpful way.

    Had I not informed her of his condition he'd likely been arrested.

    How do we educate people that when someone "seems" to ignore their command that's not a reason to "Taser first" and ask questions later?

  • john41 Nov 23, 4:49 p.m.

    Just unbelievable and sad.

  • wildcat Nov 23, 4:20 p.m.

    I guess the so call officer saw that he was not in charge here, and left.

  • wildcat Nov 23, 4:18 p.m.

    WHAT CRIME DID THE MAN DO AND WAS THE LAZER JUSTIFIABLE?

  • On. the.fence Nov 23, 4:17 p.m.

    @ Wild cat. You are exactly right I am a human being and have made many mistakes and I dont mind admitting that. How many mistakes have you made that you will admit to?

  • On. the.fence Nov 23, 4:14 p.m.

    If The officer was wrong, The SBI will find out. If the officer was right the SBI will find out, Either way it was unfortunate incident. God bless the families of Rabbit and the officer.

  • wildcat Nov 23, 4:12 p.m.

    The cop was 100% in the wrong!!

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