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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Man Dies After Being Tasered By Deputies

12-10-2007 Georgia:

WALTON COUNTY, Ga. -- A man is dead after Walton County deputies say they had no choice but to taser him. Deputies say Leroy Patterson, Jr. was being questioned about a sexual assault and became belligerent. He died shortly after being tasered.

"Well, I'm confident that the deputies did everything they felt they needed to do in that situation at that particular time," said Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman.

Chapman is standing by a deputy, who he said tasered 41-year-old Patterson early Monday morning. Patterson died less than an hour later.

"We have some of the best trained deputies in the state of Georgia," said Chapman. "We're constantly training."

Chapman said the incident happened at the Green Acres subdivision on Virginia Court and Monroe. He said a patrol deputy and a detective approached the suspect's blue truck -- which he lived in. It was parked on a co-worker's property. Chapman said when they questioned Patterson about a woman's sexual assault charges, he became combative.

"He began throwing evidence out of the truck. He was subdued by the deputies and a Taser was used," said Chapman.

The sheriff said while the suspect was in custody, he began having seizures. He was pronounced dead at the Walton County Hospital.

The case is now in the hands of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

"I just ask that we don't make any judgments at this time. Let's wait until the Georgia Bureau of Investigation conducts their investigation and determines the facts and then go from there," said Chapman.

The sheriff said it's standard for the GBI to handle cases involving deputies.

Officials are not releasing the deputy's name but he has been placed on administrative leave with pay -- which the sheriff said is also standard practice.

The GBI said an autopsy on Patterson is planned for Tuesday. Toxicology reports could take several weeks. ..more.. by

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