Paragraph eight reads: "Instead, Forseth said, Mitchell crawled into the pond, swimming deeper and deeper into the water. Although Mitchell’s family has told police that he did know how to swim, Mitchell drowned."
Police defend use of stun gun in drowning death
Officers say Taser justified in drowning death
Last Updated: 5 hours and 55 minutes ago
PINELLAS PARK, Fla. – Officers were justified in using a Taser on a man who later drowned Sunday in Pinellas Park, police said on Monday.
Dale Lee Mitchell, 34, drowned in a pond near 43rd Street and 70th Avenue early Sunday morning.
According to Pinellas Park police, Mitchell’s girlfriend called and said there was an “emergency” at the house.
Three officers responded and one found Mitchell outside. He confirmed he lived at the house as well and he and his girlfriend had been arguing.
Police said Mitchell then tried to throw a bag of Zoloft on the ground. When officers saw the bag, Mitchell ran away, attempting to hop a chain-link fence leading to the pond behind his house.
According to Capt. Sanfield Forseth, an officer deployed his Taser at Mitchell, who fell as he tried to get over the fence. However, Forseth said the officer believes the weapon was not effective in subduing Mitchell.
“Either the barb missed or one of the wires had broken,” said Forseth. He added that the officer tried to re-fire the Taser, but it failed to impact Mitchell.
Instead, Forseth said, Mitchell crawled into the pond, swimming deeper and deeper into the water. Although Mitchell’s family has told police that he did know how to swim, Mitchell drowned.
Forseth said officers are allowed to use their Tasers when they believe trying to subdue someone with their hands will lead to a physical confrontation. Pinellas Park police said this case fits that definition.
“We believe (the officers) took the safest actions they could,” Forseth said.
The officers were not placed on administrative leave after the incident. A detective will look into the incident to determine if an internal affairs investigation should be launched.