Bay Man Dies While Being Arrested by Craighead County Deputy

OCTOBER 5, 2006 - Posted at 5:53 p.m. CDT

BAY, AR - A Region 8 man is dead after being tasered by a Craighead County Sheriff's deputy.

Wednesday night officers were called to the residence of 50-year-old Michael Templeton of Bay on a loud music complaint.

Sheriff's Deputy Charles Leach responded to a call Wednesday night.

"He arrived at 11:34, and made contact with Michael Templeton," said McCann.

Templeton had been drinking and playing his music loudly, when the deputy asked him to turn the music down, he became combative.  At that point, Deputy Leach used his taser gun.

Sheriff McCann said when Deputy Leach tasered Tempelton he landed on a piece of machinery between a wheel and a pole.  In the process of handcuffing Templeton, Deputy Leach lowered Tempelton to a concrete slab.  A small spot of blood is all that's left on the concrete.

After the taser was used, an officer from Bay arrived to assist.

"They noticed he wasn't breathing and they called an ambulance at 11:41, so this all happened in just very few minutes," said McCann.

This isn't the only death involving taser guns.  Earlier this week a man in Texas died after being repeatedly subjected to shocks from a taser.

However, the use of taser guns is common across the United States.  The Craighead County Sheriff's Department has used taser's since 2002.

"Our policy is not to fight.  Our policy is to deploy the taser and avoid a fight.  The officer did what he was supposed to do," said McCann.

It's unclear at this time what the cause of death is for Templeton.

"At this point we don't have any idea why this man died.  We called Toby Emerson, the county coroner, he went to the hospital and did his examination of the body.  Toby said there's no obvious trauma," said McCann.

"Most injuries that result from a taser exposure are secondary injuries from a fall," said Taser Trainer Arlen Whitley.

But Whitley says the amount of electricity is so small it can't cause permanent damage.

For example, the taser uses .003 amps while a shock from a light socked is 16 amps.

"The taser is a non-lethal weapon, and there is just absolutely no way that a taser exposure can kill," said Whitley.

Michael Templeton's body has been sent to the state crime lab for an autopsy.  This case is being investigated by the Arkansas State Police, their findings should be known in the next few days.

In the meantime, Deputy Charles Leach has been placed on paid administrative leave.