Traverse City Record-Eagle


May 23, 2014

Deputy uses Taser on suspect

TRAVERSE CITY — A Grand Traverse County sheriff's deputy used a stun gun on a suspect in a Garfield Township traffic stop but officials gave no explanation as to why it happened.

Sheriff's Capt. Randy Fewless said deputies assisted a state police trooper in a late Thursday traffic stop near Garfield and Hammond roads. He said the trooper arrested a Grand Rapids man, 29, after a deputy deployed a Taser on the suspect.

It's rare for authorities to use stun guns on suspects in Grand Traverse County. Fewless said deputies must fill out a special report after the fact, and he didn't yet know the circumstances in the Thursday incident.

"I do not know," he said.

Fewless said the arrest appeared to be drug-related, based on booking information at Grand Traverse County's jail. He referred questions about the arrest to state police.

Sgt. Malcolm Irwin at the state police's Cadillac Post said he didn't hear about an arrest that involved a Taser. He said it's policy to decline comment until such cases are investigated and special reports are written.

"But as of right now, we don't know anything about a Taser deployment," he said.

Traverse City Police Capt. Mike Ayling said city police officers and a police dog assisted. He didn't have more details.

"The reports weren't done," he said.

Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Cooney said officers are allowed to use reasonable force when a suspect is arrested. He said using a stun gun is uncommon among local law enforcement, but wouldn't necessarily require further investigation.

"Most of the time it's because a person is resisting a lawful arrest," he said.

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