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Report: Man in Smithfield police custody did not die from Taser

Posted January 23, 2015

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— A Taser deployed by Smithfield police officers to subdue a man in custody last year did not contribute to his death and was a justified use of force, according to a report released Friday by the Johnston County District Attorney’s Office.

An autopsy determined that Rondrickquiz Williams died from cocaine toxicity and had an underlying heart condition that may have contributed to his death, which happened Aug. 5 while he was hospitalized.

Officers responded July 23 to an emergency call about a man at McDonald’s who was exposing himself and assaulting patrons. They arrived to find Williams holding a cane and acting erratically, according to a report from District Attorney Susan Doyle.

Authorities said Williams grabbed a female bystander and tried to use her as a shield before leaving her and running across the restaurant. He allegedly threw down an elderly man, then turned toward an officer.
Doyle said a physical struggle took place, and other officers arrived to help. Williams was stunned with a Taser “numerous times with little to no effect,” she said. Officers eventually put Williams in handcuffs and a leg restraint.

While being treated by emergency workers, Williams became unconscious despite normal blood pressure readings, according to the report. He was taken to a Johnston Health medical center, where a test showed he had cocaine and opiates in his system. While at the center, he stopped breathing and had to be intubated. He was then transferred to WakeMed in Raleigh.

Doyle said Williams died nearly two weeks later after suffering from renal failure, seizures and rhabdomyolysis, a degenerative condition that can lead to renal failure.

“Under the circumstances observed by the Smithfield police officers who responded to this disturbance, their use of force was justified, reasonable and warranted,” Doyle said. “As a result, no criminal charges will be filed related to this incident.”

18 Comments

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  • NotLiberal Jan 23, 2015

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    You should be careful taking him to task, apparently he has a "hook" with the moderators. I simply asked him a question and got a nasty e-mail and had my question removed.

  • Flyfisher69 Jan 23, 2015

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    It's not part of his political agenda to ask that question. Or answer it.

  • notexactly Jan 23, 2015

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    Possibly! They could have used their guns!!!!! He was high and wrong dude. get over your hatred of the law and cops. You will live a better life when you do. In your eyes no one does any wrongs and the cops are bad. A sad world you live in.

  • justabumer Jan 23, 2015

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    Do you think he would have been tasered if he hadn't been exposing himself and assaulting folks in McDonalds?

  • miseem Jan 23, 2015

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    Probably. Possibly a little earlier, if he was free and continued to do drugs, possibly a little later, if he stayed straight. But I doubt he would have stayed straight. I have never heard of a taser causing kidney failure or rhabdomyolysis. Either way, it looks like his days were numbered, and the numbers were two digits or less.

  • Flyfisher69 Jan 23, 2015

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    Why's that, because I have enough common sense to show officers the respect they deserve whether I agree with them or not and know that the more I resist or disrespect them that things will only get worse for me?

  • 68_dodge_polara Jan 23, 2015

    Often tazers don't have much of an effect if someone has done too much coke. I don't know any other drug that causes that kind of strength and craziness.

  • Brian Jenkins Jan 23, 2015

    "The moral of the story is, do as you are told when the law tells you what to do and you won't die."
    WOW you sound like a slave.

  • Flyfisher69 Jan 23, 2015

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    That's totally irrelevant.
    The man had to be subdued because he was high on coke and wouldn't comply with police. They used a taser to subdue him. End of story.
    The moral of the story is, do as you are told when the law tells you what to do and you won't die.

  • mjpack3 Jan 23, 2015

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    Thaaaat's right. Don't let AN AUTOPSY stand in the way of your soapbox preachin', Gretel.

    Tell us, Wizard. What DID kill him then? You seem to know much more than the doctors and pathologists, never mind the coroner. Go ahead. We'll wait.

    Were you born this big of a toolbag, or do you just work really really hard at it?

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