COLUMBIA - A Moberly man died Thursday shortly after being Tasered by Moberly police, officials said.
At around 12:30 a.m. Thursday, Moberly police officers pulled over Stanley James William Harlan, 23, for driving erratically. Officers then arrested him under suspicion of driving while intoxicated; when they tried to handcuff him, Harlan began to resist officers. An officer on the scene then deployed a Taser to gain Harlan's cooperation.
Harlan began to comply but refused to remove his arms from under his body so officers could finish handcuffing him, , Cmdr. Kevin Palmatory of the Moberly Police Department said. A second Taser was deployed, at which point Harlan complied and officers handcuffed him. The second deployment was a very brief, perhaps between half a second and a second long deployment, Palmatory said.
Shortly after he was handcuffed, Harlan became unresponsive and emergency medical assistance was requested, Palmatory said. Harlan stopped breathing before Randolph County Ambulance District personnel arrived, and officers initiated mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The ambulance district personnel arrived on the scene, and paramedics began treating Harlan. They transported him to Moberly Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at around 2:10 a.m. Thursday.
The incident is being investigated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol's Division of Drug and Crime Control at the request of the Moberly Police Department because Moberly police officers are involved. Palmatory said the patrol is an outside agency that will help ensure objectivity in the investigation. In 2007, the patrol conducted 74 special investigations for other agencies.
Harlan's death is still under investigation. The autopsy of Harlan is scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. Thursday in Columbia, Randolph County Coroner Gerald Lunsford said. The results of the autopsy could take weeks to release because toxicology reports take two to four weeks to complete, Carl Stacey, Boone County medical examiner, said.
In July, a Columbia man was critically injured when he fell off an overpass onto an embankment after being shot with a Taser by Columbia Police. Officers used a Taser on Phillip Lee McDuffy, 45, who was threatening to throw himself off the Providence Road bridge over Interstate 70. A first attempt to Taser him failed, and a second attempt made while McDuffy was trying to run from police caused him to fall 15 feet from the overpass onto an embankment.
On July 31, Columbia Police and the Boone County Sheriff's Department said they would hold informational meetings explaining their Taser policies and technical details of the weapons to residents.
On Aug. 4, five residents asked the City Council to reconsider its decision to equip officers with Tasers.