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Tasering in Sutherlin justified, investigators rule.

Byline: Jack Moran The Register-Guard

SUTHERLIN - Douglas County sheriff's investigators ruled Tuesday that a Sutherlin police officer justifiably used his Taser stun gun last week to subdue a woman who subsequently injured her head when she fell to the floor after being shocked.

Sutherlin police Chief Mike Mahler said he asked Douglas County detectives to review the Oct. 27 incident for possible misconduct because an internal investigation into the matter could have potentially caused controversy.

"We figured that with the use of force resulting in an injury, it would look cleaner up front to do it this way," Mahler said. "We didn't want any accusations that we were covering up anything."

Sutherlin officer Jay Huskey - who used his Taser to subdue 36-year-old Erica Leif Price inside a Sutherlin apartment - has been on paid administrative leave since the incident. He will now return to work, Mahler said.

Price, who suffered a serious head injury when she fell to the floor as a result of being shocked with the Taser, was listed in serious condition Tuesday at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Price's daughter called 911 on Oct. 27 to report that her mother had shown up at her apartment covered in blood, police said.

Huskey arrived to find Price involved in a disturbance with a 36-year-old man, police said.

Price allegedly disregarded Huskey's commands and made an aggressive move toward the officer. Police said that's when Huskey shocked her with the Taser, which caused Price to fall and strike her head.

In an interview last week with The News-Review newspaper of Roseburg, Price's daughter said her mother was "very drunk" at the time of the incident. She said she believed that Huskey could have used other means to subdue her mother.

Douglas County sheriff's officials said in a news release that they found Huskey's use of the Taser to be "appropriate and justifiable."

Price has not been charged with any crime in connection with the incident.

An investigation is continuing, police said.

Mahler said the entire Sutherlin police force - which includes 13 officers - has been armed with Tasers for several years.
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Title Annotation:City/Region; Officer Jay Huskey used the device to subdue Erica Leif Price, who was hurt in a fall after being shocked
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Nov 4, 2009
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