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Police: Officer Followed Policy In Taser Incident

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Bill Rinehart
/
WVXU

Cincinnati Police say the officer who used a Taser on a robbery suspect Monday night followed department policy.

The department says the Taser's prongs struck the suspect in the left arm and lower back. James Carney III later died. Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell say Officer Anthony White fired his Taser, but the "Taser failed to take effect and (the officer) cycled the Taser a second time but it apparently still failed to take the desired effect. Mr. Carney became unresponsive while still halfway inside the driver's side window." The Taser used in the incident will be tested to ensure it works properly.

Blackwell says investigators don't know why the Taser didn't take effect initially.  "We have physical control over the Taser.  It will be submitted for outside testing.  It has a microchip in it that will be downloaded and that will give all the pertinent data at the time of its use." 
 
Blackwell says the officers involved acted within training and guidelines. Cincinnati's Taser policy prohibits frontal shots except in situations of self defense or the defense of another. 

Blackwell adds that the city's use of Tasers has declined. Speaking during a news conference the Chief said officers have been using other means to gain control of suspects.

Cincinnati Police say they haven't found any video of the incident though they are still canvassing the area.

According to police, 48-year-old Carney was attempting to rob a female driver at the ATM at the Shell gas station at the corner of Liberty and Walnut in Over-the-Rhine.  Carney was allegedly halfway in the woman's car and "actively assaulting" the victim when police arrived. Police say the victim was screaming for help and Carney showed no signs of ceasing the assault. After being tased, police had to lift and move the car in order to remove an unconscious Carney.

Blackwell says the Hamilton County Coroner will complete an autopsy and investigation. "(Carney's) erratic behavior would suggest that there may be some type of narcotic that was involved. We're not sure. Dr. Sammarco will be able to give us that (information) when she completes her forensic analysis."