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November 11, 2004
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Georgia Medical Examiner's Office Rules Gray's Cause of Death NOT TASER

By Katie Weitzner, WRBL-TV CBS Ch 3

Columbus, OH - 25 year old Greshmond Gray was killed not by being tased by police three times, but by a rare heart condition. According to the Georgia Medical Examiner''s Office, autopsy results reveal Gray had significant abnormalities of the heart muscle, a condition he was probably born with, Dr. Kris Sperry said Tuesday afternoon during a press conference at the LaGrange Police Department.

"This is one of those silent time bombs, you never know what will set it off." According to Sperry, Gray''s heart abnormalities are known and recognized to be the cause of sudden, lethal heart rhythm disturbances during periods of intense physical or emotional stress.

"Without the taser having been used, the outcome probably would have been the same. He, literally, could have died when he was being handcuffed or while any other restraint was being used or applied."

Police Chief Lou Dekmar said the results of the autopsy report is further proof that tasers are safe for officers to use in unsafe situations.

"The reason we use the tasers is it prevents us from having to rely on physical contact when we have to take someone into custody," he told News 3.

Officers will continue to use tasers. However, after Gray''s death, there have been modifications to the use of these weapons by LaGrange officers.

Now, officers are restricted to using tasers only in more extreme situations like when they would deploy a baton or pepper spray. Greshmond Gray was killed on November 2nd after police responded to a request from his girlfriend to remove him from her apartment. However, when police tried to arrest Gray, he did not cooperate. Instead, according to police, Gray bent down and picked up a small outdoor cooking grill containing hot coals. Officers translated this into a possible threat and deployed the taser. Gray attempted to run away, so officers stunned him two more times. On the third attempt, Gray was unresponsive.

This is the first taser death Lagrange Police have had since getting tasers about one year ago. The department is equipped with 15 tasers. In the last year, approximately 3-4 thousand arrests have been made. Of those cases, tasers have been deployed by police approximately 50 times.

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