Police Accused of Tasering Washington Man Four Times Before He Collapsed and Died

140512_tased_bigWe have discussed a long litany of taser controversies including the recent tasering of a 10 year old boy. Now, in University Place in Washington, Ron Hillstrom is dead after he was reportedly tasered by four officers — each tasering the man. Hillstrom died after the encounter with the police.

Witnesses reported that they saw the four officers confront 44-year-old Hillstorm. One neighbor said that Hillstorm was pacing around the parking lot. She said that he told them that “you’re not the police” and walked in a circle. When the circle returned to the police, she says that they hit him with four individual tasers at the same time. That witness also claimed that one of the officers struck Hillstrom several times with a flashlight .

The Sheriff’s Office insisted that Hillstrom was resisting and has a history of police encounters with 26 arrests. This includes prior convictions for assault and drugs. Hillstorm was reportedly holding screwdriver but witnesses insisted that he was not threatening anyone with the tool.

To make matters worse, officers in Pierce County later used tasers on a suicidal 80-year-old man.

There is a disagreement on the number of taser hits. Witnesses say four, police say two because one missed. The initial autopsy also did not reveal blunt force injuries to his head, though a full autopsy will take time. The striking difference of accounts between officers and witnesses is difficult to reconcile.

Source: Komo News

Kudos: Michael Blott

37 thoughts on “Police Accused of Tasering Washington Man Four Times Before He Collapsed and Died

  1. Recording Taser cameras cost in the neighborhood of $400 each. After the incident shown in the news video below, the city of Ozark, MO equipped all Tasers with cameras. Before this time, Taser use had been frequent in the police department.

    The first month after the Tasercams were installed, Taser used dropped to zero. Not one instance of the “need” to use Tasers to subdue a suspect.

    As for cost objections, the cameras cost less than one week’s pay for an average officer (average pay nationwide is $26.000-). That is not excessively burdensome, especially if the department can negotiate offsetting rate reductions in their liability insurance.

  2. Rob, thank goodness the guys in that car were there to help her. In the advent she had been alone with her and the crazy person persisted it might be time for some pepper spray.

  3. I am going to go to Sentencing Law and Policy Blog and see if tasers have been discussed as an alternate to jabbing needles in a human’s groin and injecting poison in an effort to “execute” him. That was the Oklahoma method.
    I suggest a Taser Firing Squad of Six with the Governor of the State as the lead shooter. The Governor’s ability to pardon will end the day before the electrocution.
    This would be more humane than the electric chair, the gas chamber, poison in the scrotum, or hanging. Guillotine might beat it but its messy. Plus with a guillotine you might have the heirs squabble over two burials. In California the death penalty (human killer) advocates are talking about guillotine and then feeding the head to sharks at Sea World in front of the public so as to educate the public to the notion that high crime has its rewards.

    The people in Russia are laughing at us as we experiment with this execute on sight practice in America. They have trials before they kill. Only in America.

  4. There is a disagreement on the number of taser hits. Witnesses say four, police say two because one missed.

    new math?

  5. There are a lot of videos floating around, showing Taser use. A misconception about numbers of “hits” based on the sounds heard in the videos. If you hear the sound of loud clicking, that is a miss, not a hit. The sound is the probes arcing. When the probes make full contact with the subject’s skin, they don’t make the sound of a spark arcing.

  6. Pete

    That would be interesting to find out. Targets used for Taser training are metal foil sheets having a silhouette of a person. When they are hit with the Taser’s probes it makes a blue sparkling effect about the target along with the clicking sound that Chuck described above.

    You can see this effect in the below video. [move the slider to 7:25 and then to 9:25]

  7. OK, so is that any clothing one can wear to protect against tasers? why have i never heard of any way to thwart them.

  8. So about 25 states legislators remove the allowance for death penalty executions by electrocution, AFTER A TRIAL, where in THEORY, some semblance of due process is supposed to occur, and instead, now all the states, counties and cities have issued out HAND-HELD, DEATH-BY- ELECTROCUTION, PORTABLE UNITS, that do not have to have the accused be brought before some lengthy, expensive, troublesome TRIAL, so that NOW it is just electrocution BY SUMMARY JUDGMENT for something as non-criminal as CONTEMPT OF COP which isn’t even the lawbooks. Yeah, THAT makes sense doesn’t it?

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