In my experience, many police officers have replaced common sense and good ol’ police work with their trusty tasers. The common thought amongst officers seems to be “tasers are a safe way to subdue a suspect.” However, we are quickly learning that they are not nearly as safe as we once thought. The unfortunate part is that, as defense attorneys, we are definitely seeing an increase in the number of cases where the individual was unnecessarily tasered – some while in handcuffs.
– Colin A. Daniels
A Warren man died Saturday morning after being shocked with a Taser by police, according to his mother.
Warren police did not confirm the incident Sunday or discuss any details surrounding the death of Richard Kokenos, 27.
But Warren Mayor Jim Fouts said Sunday that he believed the officer in an incident was placed on leave. Fouts said he planned to talk to the police today, but declined to make a specific comment.
“I’m concerned any time there is a loss of life, and about whether there is a need to re-evaluate present police procedures,” Fouts said. “But until I get the facts, I can’t comment.”
Kokenos’ mother, Finettie Hawkins, 52, of Warren said police told her Kokenos tried to break into a home and was shocked with a Taser. Hawkins said her son spent part of his time recording rap music in a studio.
A woman visiting the 23600 block of Eureka said Kokenos was banging on windows of a house late Friday night. She said Kokenos kicked an officer, fought with six officers and was then shocked with the Taser. The witness asked not to be named.
Questions about the safety of Tasers have been raised by other such deaths, including a 2009 incident in Warren, in which 16-year-old Robert Mitchell died after he was shocked with a Taser by police. Warren police officers chased Mitchell into an abandoned house in Detroit after he fled police during a traffic stop.
The case prompted a lawsuit by the family and protests by residents.