Athens PD: Taser used on patient who later died

Athens PD: Taser used on patient who later died

ATHENS, AL (WAFF) - Athens police officials confirmed Monday that a taser was used on a suspect who later died.

Police Chief Floyd Johnson said that the department responded to a call from Athens-Limestone Hospital to assist medical staff with a patient who was becoming out of control at the emergency room the morning of Feb. 3.

Officials did not release the patient's name, however family members identified him as 49-year-old Randy Nelson.

Medical staff told responding officers, Sergeants Dusty Meadows and Greg Lott, that the patient was struggling during attempts to conduct a mental health evaluation.

When the officers attempted to intervene, the patient reportedly grew more agitated and threw his gown and glass vials at them.

The officers told the staff and patient's mother that it would be necessary to use the taser. One officer used the device on the patient while the other struggled to restrain and handcuff the patient.

Medical staff assisted, and the patient was eventually secured.

Later, according to the police statement, it became apparent the patient was having trouble breathing, and the patient was moved to a trauma room.

The patient was later transferred to Huntsville Hospital, where the patient died on Feb. 8. A preliminary autopsy report is pending.

Chief Johnson stated that there is footage from an officer's body camera. That footage will first be shared with the family of the deceased patient, per their request, before it is released publicly.

"Our officers responded in accordance with our polices, and to ensure transparency, I have asked the Alabama [State] Bureau of Investigation to conduct its own investigation," said Johnson.

Nelson's family has declined comment at this time.

Meadows and Lott are not on leave, according to police, and are still working.

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