New video surveillance released by the Fairfax County Sherriff’s Office this week give insight to the incident that lead to the death of Natasha McKenna in a jail cell early February.
In the disturbing video, officers can be seen attempting to restrain McKenna to a chair so that she could be transported to Alexandra, Virginia. The officers subdued and stunned McKenna with a Taser four times in 17 minutes. McKenna can be heard breathing heavily during the struggle and after the fourth shock she went unconscious.
Employees from the office then tried to perform CPR, but to no avail. She was transported to a nearby hospital where she died five days later.
The video comes just days after it was announced that no charges would be filed in her death.
According to an NBC Washington report, McKenna said to the officers:
“You promised me you wouldn’t kill me. I didn’t do anything.”
The deputies can be heard telling McKenna to “stop resisting” and to “hold still”. They reportedly told officials that they were afraid that she was trying to harm them. Since her death, Fairfax County Sheriff Stacy Kincaid met with the attorney of the McKenna family and extended condolences for the lost of their loved one. In the meeting she expressed why she saw it important to release the video footage from the jail.
“There has been so much inaccurate information that was being put out, and it was important that we were able to show exactly both the professionalism and the restraint and the patience that the deputies demonstrated in trying to get Ms. McKenna treatment and back to Alexandria,” she said. “That’s where she needed to be.”
Oddly, the video does not show the officers being overtly professional in trying to get Mckenna ready for transport. The commonwealth’s attorney report stated that McKenna had exerted “super human strength” towards the deputies but, in the footage she can be seen being taken to the ground immediately without ever having threatened the lives of the officers.
Raymond F. Morrogh, Fairfax’s commonwealth attorney, ruled McKenna’s death a tragic accident.
The medical examiner in the case also stated that it was accidental. He said that it was a result of excited delirium, related to the physical restraint along with the extreme electrical energy of the taser device. McKenna’s schizophrenia and bipolar disorder were also associated with her death. In the end, investigators determined that the officials did nothing wrong.
“It’s a horrific tale of suffering,” Morrogh said.
The jail has eliminated the use of tasers and a team from the department has devised a plan get those in the jail who are mentally ill into treatment.
SOURCES: NBC Washington| VIDEO SOURCE: NDN
Watch Roland Martin and the NewsOne Now panel discuss this disturbing death in custody case in the video clip below.
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