Local News

Report: Taser used several times on Raleigh man who died

Posted April 17, 2013

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

Map

— Raleigh police officers trying to control a man behaving aggressively toward them used a Taser device multiple times to try to subdue him before he died, according to a preliminary internal police report made public Wednesday afternoon.

Thomas Sadler, 45, collapsed and was later pronounced dead in the early hours of April 10 after police responded to reports that he was screaming profanity at the top of his lungs and running naked through a church parking lot in the 500 block of Mial Street.

The State Bureau of Investigation is looking into the case, and Wednesday's memorandum from Raleigh's police chief to the city manager is standard whenever a person dies in police custody.

The two-page report says Sadler initially complied with the responding officer's instructions to sit down but that his demeanor "suddenly changed" when another officer arrived and the officers began talking to one another.

"He began to utter profanity and said either 'I'm going to kill you,' or 'You're going to have to kill me,'" the report states. "Mr. Sadler leapt to his feet as he spoke and began to charge toward Officer (M.A.) Ford with his fists clenched and held out in front of his face."

Police say Ford ran backward from Sadler and, believing his safety was in jeopardy, stunned Sadler with his Taser.

Sadler then "actively resisted" multiple attempts by the second officer, S.M. Archambault, to handcuff him, according to the report, which noted that Sadler's weight of 250 to 300 pounds and the fact that he was sweating made it difficult to bring him under control.

"Officer Ford reactivated his Taser and Officer Archambault again attempted to handcuff Mr. Sadler, who again resisted," the report states. "This sequence continued several times until Officer Archambault was able to handcuff Mr. Sadler."

Still, Sadler resisted while he was on the ground and then "suddenly stopped thrashing and grew quiet," according to the memo.

The report also notes that, at one point early into the encounter, Sadler "had difficulty expressing himself" and that Ford asked him if he needed assistance.

It also says that Sadler also "violently assaulted" a minor who lived in his home and that police had also received a 911 call about that.

Ford, according to the report, has been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the SBI investigation as well as an internal police investigation into Sadler's death.

Raleigh Police Department policy dictates that Tasers, also known as 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."

86 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Billy the Kid Apr 18, 2013

    I can't believe how so many think that he was intentionally killed. It absolutely amazing.

  • godshelper Apr 18, 2013

    He followed policey. End of story, put him back to work.

  • mcsdot22 Apr 18, 2013

    vile garbage you say that they do not dismiss a case for the average joe. Have you ever been in a court room and see how it operates. This happens on a daily basis where the "average joe" is let go and the charges are dismissed for various reasons.

  • copperino Apr 18, 2013

    Whatdaheck: An excellent, reasonable post that makes a lot of sense. It's unfortunate that many people have such blind hate for anything law enforcement related, they cannot see how much sense your post makes.

  • Whatdaheck Apr 18, 2013

    Ok Minarchist. Fair enough. Regarding drugs, the article did say an autopsy is pending. MAYBE it was that he STOPPED taking his meds. Whatever it was the LEOs had a job to do. They tried talking to him. Then he flew into a rage. Sweaty, naked, slippery, 6' 2", 250++, VERY PO'd about something, violently assaulted a minor shortly before this, screaming obscenities and threats at the top of his lungs, "had difficulty expressing himself", and pounding on a car. Not a rational person. And in light of all this these "evil cops" tried to TALK with him and calm him down and ASKED HIM if he needed help. They tried to cuff him so they could save him from himself but he refused their help. In most cases Tasers are the safest way to subdue a violent person. Sometimes, due to unknown factors that cannot be discovered at the moment, they prove fatal. No one wants that. THIS is not what the LEOs wanted. Thomas Sadler is the only one to blame for his death.

  • babedan Apr 18, 2013

    If a stun gun didn't take him down the first time, then there was something seriously going on in this mans body. Something that caused a high amount of adrenalin. Voltage will knock you to your knees but it is amperage that kills you, and a Taser has very little amps

  • Brian Jenkins Apr 18, 2013

    WHATDAHECK....maybe he WASNT on his gov approved drugs? Ever seen someone miss a couple days of Seroquel? I might have missed the "he was on drugs" part, but I didnt read that.

  • Brian Jenkins Apr 18, 2013

    And for y'all crying "murder" or claiming that the cops killed the guy for challenging them, they didn't kill this guy. They followed protocol and tried to subdue him. He happened to die following the event. Personally, I think his heart was about to pop from the drugs he was on and the extreme physical exertion from fighting several LEOs, coupled with the stress from the Taser, caused his heart to quit. Saying the Taser killed him, without considering these other significant factors is not honest. It is indicative of your anti-LEO bias.

    What drug was he on?

  • Whatdaheck Apr 18, 2013

    And for y'all crying "murder" or claiming that the cops killed the guy for challenging them, they didn't kill this guy. They followed protocol and tried to subdue him. He happened to die following the event. Personally, I think his heart was about to pop from the drugs he was on and the extreme physical exertion from fighting several LEOs, coupled with the stress from the Taser, caused his heart to quit. Saying the Taser killed him, without considering these other significant factors is not honest. It is indicative of your anti-LEO bias.

    Keep in mind that you have a much better chance of surviving being shot with a Taser than a .357. Being beaten with a nightstick would also be more dangerous. We don't pay our LEOs enough to try to play UFC / MMA with a deranged, drug-crazed person.

  • Whatdaheck Apr 18, 2013

    "Let's not forget the words of wisdom from the Beretta theme song, "don't do the crime if you can't do the time". Unfortunately for this guy, "the time" turned out to be his own death, proving once again that fighting with the police is a bad idea and generally discouraged. Whatdaheck

    Sooo being loud, beligerant and threatening cops is worthy of "doing the time" which means being killed? Nice! - OGE"

    Nooooo...it means that LEOs carry guns, Tasers and "clubs". If you don't want one or more of them used on you, don't assault a cop, or anyone carrying those weapons. It's simple cause and effect.

More...