Department guidelines dictate police TASER use - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Department guidelines dictate police TASER use


The Division of Criminal Investigation is looking into the death of an Arizona man while in Coralville Monday. 

Thomas Martinez, Jr. was tased twice by police after he struck an officer.

Martinez died a day later at a local hospital.

The Coralville Police department can't say much about the incident since it is under investigation, but their policy on TASER use is similar to that of other departments.

The Iowa City Police Department was not involved in Monday's incident at the Coralville restaurant, but Sgt. Vicki Lalla says responding officers always have one goal, no matter the situation. 

"Our ultimate goal in anything is to find a peaceful, safe resolution to whatever the situation is going on," she said.

Police departments have procedures in place dictating their use of TASERs.

"It's not the first thing that an officer would reach for to resolve a situation," Lalla said.

The Johnson County Attorney's Office and DCI continue to investigate the role, if any, a TASER played in Martinez's death, and the circumstances surrounding Monday's incident.

Police had noted Martinez appeared to be suffering from mini-seizures at the time.

Police departments we spoke with have guidelines in place that refrain from using TASERs on people like children, pregnant women and the elderly.

Police say, however, different scenarios warrant different police responses.

Now it's up to investigators to reach a conclusion on this case.

Reports indicate Martinez may have been under the influence of drugs during Monday's incident.

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