Just Another Guy with Opinions

15-Year-Old Brett Elder Tasered to Death

Posted by shadmia on March 24, 2009

Brett “Dewey” Elder, 15, of  Bay City, Michigan was 5′ 6″ and weighed about 140 pounds. Brett Elder is dead. He was the recipient of one Taser bolt to the chest, fired by one of three police officers in an attempt to subdue the youth.

Brett had been drinking and was fighting with others at 210 S. Catherine St. when the police were called at 3:40 am. They arrived at 3:44 am. Police say they were trying to break up a fight when Elder tried to go after other people in the house, as well as the police. That’s when an officer deployed his TASER at 3:53 a.m. Brett was then handcuffed and because of his reaction to being Tasered, an ambulance was called.

Two males were arguing in an apartment, and one of them “attempted to fight the officers,” the statement said. “The male subject was then Tasered and taken into custody,” it said. “Medical personnel were summoned immediately due to the subject’s reactions.”

Eyewitnesses have a different story to tell. They say that Brett was handcuffed before being Tasered. They also say that not only was an ambulance not called quickly enough but they refused to allow CPR to be performed on the youth. They also question why three officers could not control him without the use of the Taser.

“He was flopping around and looked like a fish out of water. That’s the only way to explain it — his whole body was bent over,” Elder’s aunt, Cindy Hernden, said.

State police said they have started an investigation into the death. City police have placed the officer involved on administrative leave.

“This is a very tragic event,” said police Chief Michael Cecchini. He said his department would conduct an internal investigation into whether the officer followed policy when using the Taser.

Eugene E. Elder Sr. figures police killed his teenage son unjustifiably with a Taser, and he plans to fire back with a lawsuit. “I’m going after the city. I don’t care,” said Elder, 55, of Bay City. “There’s no reason for killing my boy. He didn’t do nothing wrong.

“I believe they killed him,” said Hernden. “I believe his heart couldn’t handle it,” Hernden added. “I just figured that Taser was too strong for that small of a kid. He’s tiny, and there were three grown police officers. “They could have subdued him without handcuffs, but they handcuffed him and then Tasered him.”

Bay City Deputy Police Chief Thomas P. Pletzke denied Hernden’s allegation, saying Brett Elder wasn’t in handcuffs when an officer deployed the Taser. Pletzke declined comment when asked if Bay City officers should share any blame for Elder’s death. Pletzke didn’t identify the officer who used the Taser, but said the department has placed him on administrative leave.

Relatives of Brett Elder said police arrested the late youth’s half-brother, Eugene, at Bay Regional Medical Center following a scuffle with security personnel at the hospital after rescuers had taken Brett Elder there.

Brett Elder attended Wenona High School, an alternative high school at 201 Woodside Lane operated by the Bay City Public Schools. Elder attended Bay City Central High School earlier this school year.

He was a pleasant enough young man,” said Jerry Lombardo, principal at Wenona High School, though Lombardo noted Elder had attended the alternative school for only about three weeks.

Eugene Elder Sr. said his late son loved to ride bicycles with him, and would have turned 16 on Tuesday. He said his son had undergone treatment for alcohol abuse, but had been avoiding alcohol in recent weeks.

Brett’s mother, Jodi Elder, had died in September. An aunt, Dorothy A. Hendrix of Bay City, said he was “devastated” by the death of his mother.

“He didn’t even weigh 150 pounds,” Hendrix said. “They Tasered a little kid.”

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3 Responses to “15-Year-Old Brett Elder Tasered to Death”

  1. AngelaM said

    This has to be the most sickening display of police brutality in our city! A parent who harms a child would be arrested yet the police felt it necessary to taser this young man? Perhaps we should allow teachers and principals to taser our children since they have to deal with unruly teens on a daily basis? What happened to the days when police officers could take down a full grown man with out the use of tasers? If these officers are not capable of controlling a CHILD with physical force then they need to lay of the doughnuts and stop being so damn lazy! My prayers are with the Elders and I hope they own a part of this town when they are done suing!

  2. Tiffany said

    brett elder was like my little brother and i loved him he had no right to die i miss you lil bro with all my heart and soul you didnt have to die like this i love ya lil bro forever and always your best frioend and big sister Tiffany
    in memory or brett elder i have made a myspace in memory of him it is welcome to all for brett edler and people that loved him as much as me
    Myspace in memory of brett elder

  3. tom said

    um well maybe he shouldnt have been partying and drinking until 4 am were were his parents at!! to much trash

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