No Criminal Charges in Brett Elder Death
Posted by shadmia on May 14, 2009
Bay County Prosecutor Kurt C. Asbury declined to charge any of the three police officers involved in the TASER-related death of 15-year-old Brett Elder on March 22, 2009.
It was Cpl. James Lyman who fired the Taser that struck Brett Elder, contributing to what the Oakland County Assistant Medical Examiner, Kanu Virani, called the accidental death of the teenager. The other contributing factor was alcohol-induced excited delirium syndrome. The teen had a blood alcohol level of .17.
Asbury, in a written statement said he won’t file criminal charges against any officers “as the evidence does not prove that the officers committed any criminal act that caused or contributed to the death of Brett Elder.“
Prosecutor Asbury said, “The unfortunate reality of the situation was that the underaged Brett Elder was very intoxicated drinkng the early morning hours of March 22, 2009, and wihtout any meaningful adult supervision or guidance, placed himself in a situation which resulted in his death.
He was highly agitated and combative, tried to start fights with numerous people, as well as the police officers called to the resience to deal with his ‘uncontrollable behavior,’ all which contributed to his untimely death.”
Several witnesses from inside the apartment said a police officer used a Taser on Brett Elder after police handcuffed him. Police deny that and Asbury’s summary indicates that wasn’t the case.
Asbury says police followed proper procedures and were justified in the Taser shooting of Elder.
A female had been attacked. “She reported that Mr. Elder put her in a head lock and started punching her in the face,” Asbury said.
There were eight people in the home, and others tried to subdue Elder. “So there were multiple altercations with this young man inside the house,” Asbury said. The three police officers arrived at the home about 3:45 am and for eight minutes they also tried to subdue Elder.
“They decided they needed to take him into custody,” Asbury said. “He broke away from the officer’s grasp and that’s when he put up his fists and put up a fighting stance.”
Brandon LaBerge, a friend of Elder’s says he was “pretty angry” about the fact that no criminal charges would be filed. He says he was like a brother to Elder in what he calls a makeshift family of friends and relatives who are still demanding justice.
“Someone needs to pay for it,” he said. “Our family is still sitting here scratching our heads, saying, ‘What’s going on?'”
In fact the Elder family had already hired a law firm which is expected to file a civil lawsuit in this case, now that the criminal aspect of the investigation is over. The team of attorneys – including Southfield lawyer Geoffrey Fieger and Flint attorney David Nickola – will be representing the estate of Brett Elder.