Eyewitness believes Coconut Creek inmate died from police Tasers

John Arendale says he saw officers stun Calvon Reid with Tasers multiple times in chest

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. – An eyewitness and an attorney for the Coconut Creek inmate who was stunned by police Tasers spoke to Local 10 News about what they believe caused Calvon Reid's death.

"I believe a man died here unnecessarily," eyewitness John Arendale said.

Arendale watched as three or four police officers used their Tasers on the 39-year-old outside his door in Wynmoor Village last month. He said he believes Reid died not only because officers stunned him with Tasers so many times, but because of the place on his body where they stunned him.

"I've read since that Taser blasts to the chest cause heart attacks," Arendale said.

"And he was taser-blasted to the chest? Did you see that?" Local 10 News investigative reporter Bob Norman asked.

"Yes, and the wires were still in him when they turned him over," Arendale said.

Arendale swore to that in a statement obtained by Local 10 News and taken by the attorney representing Reid's two teenaged children.

"He was double-tased by two different officers simultaneously in the chest," said attorney Jarrett Blakeley.

Taser International, which certifies officers in the use of stun guns, instructs police officers to avoid stunning  anyone in the chest with a Taser if at all possible, because it can cause cardiac arrest and death.

"It is part of officers' training with Tasers to try to avoid tasing someone in the chest and also to try to avoid tasing people repeatedly," said Blakeley.

Both the witness and attorney said they wonder if the tragedy could have been averted if the officers had proper training.

"At least three of the four officers were not current on their Taser certifications, so they would not have, within the last year, gotten instruction on not tasing people in the chest and not tasing people simultaneously," Blakeley said.  

Three officers involved have been taken off the road pending the result of an investigation.

"We believe he died as a direct result of the actions of the Coconut Creek Police Department," said Blakeley.  

Blakeley said he is preparing a wrongful death lawsuit against the police department and is also calling for an independent investigation into Reid's death.

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