Local News

SBI probing use of stun gun on Halifax County man who died

Posted November 23, 2011 11:52 a.m. EST
Updated November 23, 2011 6:32 p.m. EST

— The State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the death of a Halifax County man who died after a Scotland Neck police officer shocked him with a stun gun, while his family mulls filing a lawsuit.

Roger Anthony, 61, died Tuesday, one day after an officer used a stun gun on him while he was riding a bicycle. The state Office of the Medical Examiner hasn't yet determined a cause of death.

Officers were responding to a 911 call Monday night about a man who had fallen off his bicycle in the parking lot of BB&T Bank. The caller told dispatchers that the man appeared drunk and that it looked like he had hurt himself.

Officers said they repeatedly told Anthony to get off his bike, but when he didn't respond, they shocked him. Family members say Anthony had hearing problems and suffered from seizures.

Now they're considering whether to file a lawsuit against the town.

"What did they tase him for? It's hurting me. It's really hurting me," said Anthony's brother, Michael.

Scotland Neck Mayor James Mills said Wednesday that he wouldn't blame the family for suing.

"There has been no information that this man was a threat to anybody," he said. "If I was a family member, I'm sure I'd be thinking the same way."

Mills said he has tried to get information from the police department about what happened to Anthony, but they have turned him away.

Police Chief Joe Williams says the officer is on administrative leave while the SBI conducts its investigation. He declined to comment further.

Anthony's family said they hope the case is resolved soon.

"I'm sad. I lost an uncle," Anthony's niece, Porsha Anthony, said. "Hopefully it will be (rectified) so that not another family in Scotland Neck has to go through this."