A Bronx man died yesterday morning after NYPD officers say they encountered him brandishing a pair of scissors inside of his apartment and proceeded to Taser him.
Officers responded to a call regarding an "emotionally disturbed person" (EDP) at 2263 Loring Place in the University Heights neighborhood of the Bronx around 8:15 a.m., according to the NYPD. Inside Apartment 15, police say they found a 51-year-old man, identified by the NY Times as one Mario Ocasio, "armed" with a pair of scissors.
Ocasio's girlfriend, who was also in the apartment, made the initial 911 call, followed by a second call from the the building's landlord. She told the officers that Ocasio was high on drugs. The Times reports that a 52nd Precinct sergeant did the tasering, after Ocasio allegedly refused to drop the scissors. The scissors fell, and he was placed in handcuffs.
EMS arrived minutes later and placed Ocasio into an ambulance, where, according to the Times, he went into cardiac arrest. The handcuffs were reportedly removed, and Ocasio was transported to New York Presbyterian Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Ocasio might have been on K-2, a synthetic version of pot, according to the NYPD.
The exact cause of death is yet to be determined by the Medical Examiner's office.
The NYPD responds to about 100,000 EDP calls every year, and they often result in injuries or death. A Flatbush man was Tasered in September, after threatening a shop owner with a shard of glass, and was taken to Kings County hospital. In 2012, Mohamed Bah, who had barricaded himself in his Harlem apartment, was fatally shot with a Taser, rubber bullets, and live ammunition.
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton has pushed for the department to expand its use of Tasers.