Georgia ex-police officers indicted over man's 2014 Taser death

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 18, 2015 7:46 PM

By David Beasley

ATLANTA (Reuters) - A grand jury has indicted two former Georgia police officers on murder charges for allegedly killing a handcuffed suspect with a stun gun last year, a prosecutor said on Tuesday.

The former East Point officers, Marcus Eberhart, 41, and Howard Weems, 49, repeatedly struck the suspect, Gregory Towns, with a stun gun in April 2014 when he refused to walk to a patrol car, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said in a statement.

Towns, 24, told officers he was out of breath and could not stand after fleeing to woods amid a domestic dispute, Howard said.

After collapsing several times and repeated stun gun jolts, "Towns finally lapsed into unconsciousness. He was pronounced dead shortly afterwards," the prosecutor said.

The Fulton County medical examiner's office ruled the death a homicide. The charges come amid a heightened national debate on the use of force by police.

Police in East Point, an Atlanta suburb, cooperated with the investigation into the death, firing one officer and allowing the second to resign, Howard said.

East Point settled a wrongful death lawsuit by Towns' family for an undisclosed amount, said Chris Stewart, an attorney for the family.

The East Point police department also retrained its officers on the use of stun guns, Stewart said.

Bond has been set at $100,000 for both of the former officers, Howard said.

(Editing by Ian Simpson and Eric Walsh)