Cops abusing their power? No shock there…
Iowa Officers Investigated For Taser Death Of Accuse Domestic Abuser
Worth County deputies fired two Tasers at least 15 separate times to subdue a man who was lying on his back and either couldn’t or wouldn’t roll over as instructed, according to videos and other records released by the state to settle a lawsuit filed by The Des Moines Register.
Michael Zubrod, 39, of Northwood can be heard moaning throughout parts of the 3½ minutes of footage, and records show that minutes later, he became unresponsive with no heartbeat. Deputies had responded to the home that night after Zubrod was accused of beating his girlfriend, Rhonda Schukei, with a hammer.
The newly released records — including two videos, more than 100 audio recordings of communications with emergency dispatch and multiple documents — show and describe a highly violent scene on Sept. 22 that ended in Zubrod’s death. The records were released last week in a settlement with the state after the Register sued for access to the reports.
The records are the clearest indication yet of what happened inside Schukei’s home in Northwood that night, but many questions still remain. Zubrod’s family members continue to raise concerns over whether the Tasers were used excessively, which they believe caused or contributed to his death.
“I don’t know what to say. I just don’t,” Cheri Zubrod said of the newly released information surrounding her son’s death. “I have to do some serious thinking about this. Even with finally having this information, nothing is easy.”
While several law enforcement experts agree that its hard to draw a concrete conclusion about what took place that night, one believes that the officers did their job to the letter.
“The fact that they took him into custody and he (became unresponsive) shortly thereafter is not the officers’ fault,” California law enforcement expert Rocky Warren said. “They did the jobs they were supposed to do.”
The Iowa medical examiner’s office determined Zubrod died from a heart problem following an altercation with law enforcement while “in the setting of acute methamphetamine intoxication.” His death was classified as a homicide, a definition that means someone died at the hands of another person but not necessarily as a result of wrongdoing.
Schukei was badly injured but survived after two brain surgeries and two reconstructive surgeries on her face. She couldn’t be reached for this story, but told the Mason City Globe Gazette in April that she still had double vision and couldn’t bend over without becoming dizzy.
Still, she expressed love for Zubrod and attributed his behavior to his schizophrenia and use of illegal drugs. She said she did not begrudge the deputies who used the Tasers. “They saved my life,” she told the Globe Gazette.
Rhonda is a very forgiving soul, but it sounds like this is just another case of trigger-happy cops who are eager to use “toys”.
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