Just Another Guy with Opinions

Brett Elder – Funeral and Controversy

Posted by shadmia on March 27, 2009

Brett and BrotherThe RockBrett Elder

Brett “Dewey” Elder (born 3/24/93) died two days before his 16th birthday (3/22/09). The unarmed (5’6″, 140 lb) teen died after being Tasered by one of three officers of the Bay City police department. He was buried Thursday 3/26/09. His family has hired a lawyer, Flint attorney David Nickola, with the intention of suing the police department. Michigan State police have opened their own investigation into this case. Read more about this case here: 15-Year-Old Brett Elder Tasered to Death

This is one of those times where it is difficult not to form an opinion before all the facts are presented and although I will continue to report on all sides of this story, I would like to make the following statement:

I have read a number of reports regarding this young man’s death and, in all honesty, the only conclusion I can come to, is that unnecessary force was used by the police against Brett Elder, resulting in his death.

The best scenario I can come up with; is that three adult police officers felt so threatened by this 15-year-old, drunk kid that they had no other option but to use extreme measures to subdue him. I do not believe this.

Any other scenario leads to the conclusion that this was a case of police brutality and possible criminal behavior. I hope justice is served!! Brett Elder did not deserve this.

The Funeral service for Brett Elder was held at 4 p.m. at Ambrose Funeral Home, 1200 Garfield Ave. but before the service was conducted a second autopsy was perform on the teen’s body by forensic pathologist Werner Spitz at the request of the law firm representing the Elder family. The law firm claims that the autopsy results “are expected to show (Brett Elder) died from being electrocuted by Taser causing his heart to defibrillate.”

The first autopsy was done by Dr. Kanu Virani but he declined to offer an opinion on the cause of death until he learns results of toxicology tests checking levels of alcohol and other drugs in the boy’s body. Virani said he also will await results of a microscopic examination of the boy’s tissues before determining a cause of death. That could take a few weeks.

Police in Bay City held a four-minute news conference to address the death of 15-year-old Brett Elder. During the conference, Bay City Police Chief Michael J. Cecchini addressed the media by reading a prepared written statement. Cecchini said officers acted properly and denied an allegation that officers used the Taser gun after the teen was in handcuffs.

“A Taser electronic control device was deployed for one five-second cycle to subdue Brett,” Cecchini said.“He was subsequently handcuffed without incident. Upon taking Brett into custody, officers recognized signs of a possible medical problem and immediately rendered aid and summoned medical personal to the scene.”

One of Brett Elder’s friends, 23-year-old Bethany Schuster of Flint, joined with several others to paint “The Rock” on 12th Street and Hammerberg Road in Flint this week to protest Brett’s death. She had planned to celebrate her 24th birthday this weekend with her friend Brett. Instead, the Flint woman will spend it mourning his death.

Bethany Schuster and her boyfriend, Brandon Look, are still coming to grips with the boy’s death. Schuster said she met Brett in Bay City about five years ago, and it had become a tradition to celebrate their birthdays together. “It’s unbelievable,” she said, adding that he was a good kid who was easygoing and lovable. “He was not a kid without ambition,” said Look, adding that Brett had a hard life growing up. “Now he’s robbed of being an adult.” They painted The Rock on Tuesday with birthday wishes but also had a sharp message for the police. “Tasered to death by Bay City PD,” The Rock read.

For photos of the funeral and The Rock dedicated to Brett Elder click here: Tribute to Brett “Dewey” Elder

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4 Responses to “Brett Elder – Funeral and Controversy”

  1. Three grown men, policemen (TRAINED) couldn’t subdue a small teenager? Give me a break, the boy wasn’t armed. It’s clear they used unreasonable force and now the kid is dead. He will never graduate high school, never marry, have kids, have a career. This is sad and it angers me. I always say our children don’t get near enough protection from our justice system, this only reinforces my feelings.

    By the way, this is ~V (you have my other blog on your blogroll here 😉 ) I had to move my other blog because of my stalker (AKA Dad). So if you want to change the link and read me there, I would surely appreciate it!! Talk to you soon


  2. Sandy said

    Amnesty International (London) makes a statements about Brett Elder’s death and the use of tasers:

    My impression is that the police are given this new tool, and trained to use it. Once trained, some of them are itching to use it, and just can’t wait until the right situation comes along to warrant its use!

    Drunks can be belligerent, and an immature 15-year-old who hasn’t learned to obey the police might piss off the officers enough to make them want to punish him with a zap. OK, maybe that’s not fair, and the unarmed kid was too *large* at 5’10” and 140 lbs., and too strong for three officers to handle, right? [sarcasm intended]

  3. 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

    {i was one of the 400 people there for brett}

  4. jennifer said

    this is just so unbeleave able that this could every happen to a 15 year old boy i think that the cop should lose his job and that those taser should be alound to be used cause come on now three full grown men couldn’t take his down that is bull shit and don’t only that they had to make it hell for him by putting cuff’s on his also

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