TEEN WHO DIED AFTER TASER SHOT HAD MARIJUANA
Store Manager Had Asked Him To Leave, But Warrant Doesn't Say Why
A 17-year-old who died after a police officer shocked him with a stun gun last week had marijuana hidden in his socks. And according to a search warrant, he'd been asked to leave the Food Lion where he worked before police arrived.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Officer Jerry Dawson Jr. used his Taser after police received a disturbance call about 1:15 p.m. Thursday from the grocery store on Prosperity Church Road. Darryl Turner had worked in the University City store for about a year as a cashier and bagger.
It's unclear why, but the warrant said a customer service manager had asked Turner to leave and he refused.
Last week, Turner's mother, Tammy Fontenot, told the Observer that she didn't know of any problems her son had with drugs or alcohol.
On Monday night she declined to comment about the search warrant that said officers found three small bags of marijuana in one of Turner's socks. They also searched his Green Ford Escort to look for drugs or other impairing substances but seized no items, according to the document.
"Our focus has continued to be on what the officer was confronted with at the scene," said Ken Harris, the family's attorney. "That will continue to be the focus and some of the more recent information may or may not be relevant to that."
Family members and co-workers said Turner, who graduated last year from a charter high school and planned to attend college, was a good student and reliable employee. His court record consists of three traffic offenses.
His mother said her son had a temper but was not violent. She did say that Turner had come home for lunch Thursday and told her he had stolen a couple of Hot Pockets from the store. He was afraid of getting in trouble, she said, but she told him to go back to the store and admit what he did.
Police received the disturbance call soon after. As Dawson arrived at the store, police said, an "agitated" Turner threw something at a manager. Turner ignored Dawson's commands and advanced toward him. Dawson then used the Taser to get him under control, police said.
Turner was later pronounced dead at Carolinas Medical Center-University. His death is the first Taser-related fatality in CMPD's history.
Preliminary autopsy results show no obvious cause of death, the medical examiner's office said.
Turner will be buried Friday at Crown Memorial Park after a noon visitation and 1 p.m. service at Temple Hurch International, 3201 Tuckaseegee Road.
Police have declined to give details about the incident. A spokeswoman said Monday the 911 tape recording and police radio transmissions are still being reviewed.
Dawson, a 15-year veteran, is on administrative leave pending an internal investigation, as is routine when someone dies in police custody. Homicide detectives also are investigating the death and will present their findings to the district attorney.
Co-workers and friends said they never knew of Turner being reprimanded at work. Customers described him as "mannerly" and "pleasant."
But he had disagreements with the same customer service manager, who had asked him to tuck in his shirt, said Mitch Hecht, 20, an office assistant at the store. The customer service manager had complained about Turner wearing gold teeth and big earrings, he said.
Charlotte Observer (NC)
Copyright: 2008 The Charlotte Observer