Vulnerable man killed by a police taser
all credits: The Guardian
published: 24 August 2011
News updates on this case will be listed at the foot of this item
A man who stabbed himself in the abdomen has died after being tasered by police officers. Philip Hulmes, 53, was hit with electric probes from the stun gun after barricading himself in his home in Over Hulton, near Bolton, on Tuesday night. It is thought a concerned relative called police to the house at 8.30pm. Police were told that Hulmes, who was armed with a knife, had locked himself in, was making threats and had begun to stab himself.
Officers arrived and smashed a hole in the door. When they spotted his injuries they called for Taser-trained back up. After further failed attempts to talk him out of the building they broke in and used the stun gun.
He was taken to the Royal Bolton Hospital but he died about half an hour later.
Investigations by the Professional Standards Branch and the Independent Police Complaints Commission are due to begin.
Greater Manchester police said the officers had been threatened. They entered the house and deployed a Taser. “After it was deployed, it became apparent he had a serious self-inflicted stab wound to his abdomen,” police said in a statement. A Home Office post-mortem examination is due to be carried out later today.”
The GMP’s Professional Standards Branch will oversee the investigation and will be making a mandatory referral to the IPCC.
The commission is also investigating another death when up to 11 officers arrested a man after restraining him with pepper spray. The man became unwell and died in hospital within two hours.
Jacob Michael, 25, from Widnes, Cheshire, died after he became ill on Monday evening. He managed to flee police but was brought down on a grass verge close to his home and restrained.
Some witnesses expressed concerns about the arrest. The IPCC said pepper spray had been used and its investigators would carry out inquiries.
Cheshire police’s assistant chief constable expressed his condolences to the man’s family and friends. “I believe it is important for the community to know that the detailed post-mortem examination … found no physical injuries on Jacob that could be attributable to a cause of death,” ACC Philip Thompson said.
“Whilst pepper spray was discharged during the course of his arrest, there is no evidence that the use of pepper spray was the sole factor or indeed a contributory factor to Mr Michael becoming unwell some time after his arrest or as a cause of his death.”
He appealed for calm and said further extensive tests would help establish an exact cause of death.
Last week, 27-year-old bodybuilder Dale Burns died in Cumbria after he was tasered and sprayed with pepper spray by police during an arrest. A post-mortem was unable to establish a cause of death.
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