published March 27, 2008
HENDERSONVILLE – Two Henderson County sheriff’s deputies did nothing criminally or procedurally wrong in the death of a man repeatedly shocked with a Taser while in handcuffs, authorities said Wednesday.
District Attorney Jeff Hunt said in a statement that Stefan McMinn’s death in November did not warrant criminal charges based on a State Bureau of Investigation report.
Sheriff Rick Davis said McMinn was being combative while being booked at the Henderson County jail on charges of being drunk and disruptive and resisting arrest.
McMinn had lethal levels of alcohol and cocaine in his system, the sheriff said.
“The autopsy didn’t reveal or didn’t show the cause of death, but given the fact that there was an acute amount of cocaine and alcohol in his system, the facts and the science would eliminate the Taser as a cause,” Davis said.
The N.C. Medical Examiner’s Office would not release information on McMinn’s autopsy, saying it was not yet complete.
Hendersonville police arrested McMinn, 44, on Nov. 2 at a motel after the owner said he appeared out of control and had jumped out a second-story window. An officer said he had to wrestle McMinn to the ground before handcuffing him.
Deputies shocked McMinn a few minutes after he arrived at the jail when he tried to assault them, Davis said.
He did not specify how McMinn assaulted the deputies.
McMinn went into cardiac arrest minutes after being shocked with the Taser. He was later taken to a hospital and declared dead.
Davis said he did not know how much time elapsed between the shocks and McMinn’s death, though it is included in the lengthy SBI report.
Hunt could not be reached. SBI reports are not considered public record.
Deputies used the Taser gun to stun McMinn with localized shocks rather than firing electrodes into his body, a more potent method that causes neuromuscular incapacitation, Davis said.
The District Attorney’s Office told Davis that deputies shocked McMinn about six times this way.
“What the officers were doing was basically a very short, brief, half-second Tase contact to try to get his attention to try to get him to stop being combative,” Davis said.
McMinn had a history of alcohol, drug and criminal activity, Davis said.
He had family in the area but lived alone, Sam Angram, who owns the Caldwell Inn motel where McMinn was staying when he was arrested, said at the time.
McMinn’s cousin, Anthony McMinn, was out of town Wednesday and said he would wait to comment until he returned to Hendersonville and learned more about investigation results.