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Autopsy: Suspect Died of Cocaine Overdose

Posted March 20, 2008

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— A man who died in January after Fayetteville police used a Taser on him had a toxic amount of cocaine in his system, according to an autopsy report.

Otis C. Anderson, 36, of 2724 Providence St., died on Jan. 9 after officers stunned him twice with a Taser during a struggle at the scene of an attempted break-in, police said.

Officers were responding to a break-in alarm from a convenience store on Murchison Road when Anderson became combative, police said. Anderson had flagged down police earlier to report that he had overdosed on crack cocaine, but he ran off before paramedics could be summoned, police said.

After using the Taser, officers were able to get Anderson on the ground and handcuff him, and paramedics were trying to remove a Taser dart that had stuck in him when he stopped breathing, police said.

The autopsy report indicated that the struggle with police contributed to Anderson's death.

One officer was placed on administrative leave after the incident. The case remains under investigation by the Fayetteville Police Department and the State Bureau of Investigation.


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  • Dr. Dataclerk Mar 24, 2008

    It does not pay to do drugs. When tasered it will kill the person.

  • diwanicki Mar 20, 2008

    People on drugs and those that are drunk or half way there, have more strength than you know. To say its the cops fault he died is wrong. Maybe he shouldn't have gotten high and then tried to break in. Take your blinders off and look at the real picture.

  • ChuckD Mar 20, 2008

    tab says, "Parse my words/points all you want to but the bottomline is that were they properly trained &/or using better judgement this man may still be alive."

    Even more of a bottom line...if the man had not been doing crack, he would even more likely still be alive. Sit behind your keyboard and beat out more unreasonable responses. I'd like to see you out there on the streets, doing what our fine PO do every day.

    As the old saying goes...walk a mile in their shoes before making a judgement about how they do their job. There are PLENTY of openings in the Fayetteville Police Dept. Go sign up...

  • Common Sense Man Mar 20, 2008

    "wcnc, I gave you another option that they could of used. This man was unarmed and looks like he weight 90 lbs soaking wet. say what you want, this is a common sense thing,"

    And how many people have you fought that are high on crack? You want to step in the ring with one or sit behind your computer and second guess those who do? Yeah, that's what I thought.......

  • Common Sense Man Mar 20, 2008

    "Cops claim all the time they can tell when someone is high, in fact they are trained to notice the signs. so with that in mind, certainly once they know this it should be nothing to add into their training that you don't tase a person who already has an extremely high heartrate!!"

    You're right, they should fight these people hand to hand. You know they won't feel much pain and have more strength than normal; so yeah, that's a great idea.

  • Common Sense Man Mar 20, 2008

    "The bottomline is that cops are going to use this tool, they need to also need to know when to use it on someone with a particular medical condition going on at the time."

    Yeah, because they can know that in every situation with a split second decision to make.

  • walkermr Mar 20, 2008

    Well Tab, since the presence of cocaine actually makes it harder to electrocute someone. Your argument is void. But nice try though.


    Qureshi AI, Suri MF, Guterman LR, Hopkins LN. Cocaine use and the likelihood of nonfatal myocardial infarction and stroke: data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Circulation 2001 Jan 30;103(4):502–6.

    Schwartz AB, Boyle W, Janzen D, Jones RT. Acute effects of cocaine on catecholamines and cardiac electrophysiology in the conscious dog. Can J Cardiol 1988;4:188-92.

    Schwartz AB, Janzen D, Jones RT. Electrophysiologic effects of cocaine on the canine ventricle. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol 1989;13:253–7.

    Lakkireddy DR, Wallick D, Ryschon K, Chung MK, Butany J, Martin D, Saliba W, Kowalewski W, Natale A, Tchou PJ. Effects of Cocaine Intoxication on the Threshold for Stun Gun Induction of Ventricular Fibrillation. J Am Coll Cardiol 2006;48:805–11.

  • thepeopleschamp Mar 20, 2008

    Tab, what on earth does the Medical Examiner have to gain by submitting a false report??? I'm sure they don't even know the officers so why lie for them as you have suggested.

    Here's a crazy theory,,, the suspect had a toxic amount of cocaine in his body and the toxiology report verified it.

  • h2ogirl2002 Mar 20, 2008

    tab580642, have you ever seen anyone that has had a little too much crack? Crack makes people almost superhuman. The strength that stuff gives people is unbelievable. And come on, the cops don't know for sure how tachycardic people are before they tase. Its not like they can get a set of vitals on them before they tase them. I can see that going over smoothly.

  • thepeopleschamp Mar 20, 2008

    Tab, if he were tackled and restrained by 5 200lb. men he would have died anyway and you would still be complaining about how the police handled it. Then the question would have been why wasn't a taser used?

    And if you think the term "split second decision" is over used as you say it is, think how the police must feel that they have to continually keep making these split second decisions. Unitl the magic zapper is invented that can beam people to jail like on Star Trek, the police will make do with what tools they have.