LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

Suspect Dies After Police Use Taser Three Times During Arrest


Beth Wilson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, also said the Louisville Metro Police Department should review its policy on Tasers, which she said sometimes are used ?to force compliance in nondangerous and non-life-threatening situations.?

?Tasers should only be used in cases where there is an immediate threat to human life,? she said.


A man who died early Tuesday morning after being stunned with a Taser has been identified. The Jefferson County Coroner's office says 52-year-old Larry Noles of Louisville was pronounced dead at Jewish Hospital at 1:43 a.m. The cause of death wasn't immediately determined, but as WAVE 3 Investigator James Zambroski reports, police used the Taser three times while trying to take Noles into custody.

The incident happened outside the White Castle at Seventh Street Road and Algonquin Parkway just after 1 a.m. Tuesday. Police say Noles had been causing a disturbance inside the restaurant, and an off-duty officer working across the street tried unsuccessfully to subdue him.

The officer called for backup, and by the time other officers arrived, Noles had become aggressive, damaging a car, and stripping off his clothes.

By that time, there were two officers at the scene -- Michael Campbell and Matthew Metzler.

Chief Robert White says Officer Campbell, a 10-year veteran, initially shot two darts carrying 50,000 volts through 25-foot wires, striking Noles in the chest.

When Noles started moving toward Campbell and Metzler, a five-year veteran, Noles was then "dry stunned," with Campbell putting the weapon directly on his neck and the back of his right shoulder, White said.The third time Noles was stunned, he fell to the ground, unconscious. He was taken to Jewish Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

White says it appears that officers followed correct procedure.

Louisville Metro Mayor Jerry Abramson told us he still supports using Tasers. "As of this point in time, we certainly do. Our experience in the last two years is that it works exceptionally well, when it is used instead of using a gun."

Both officers involved have had crisis intervention training, meaning they have been trained to deal with someone with suspects who are mentally ill or emotionally distraught.

An investigation is under way. Tasers are used by many law enforcement officers as a nonlethal alternative to guns. But the Justice Department is reviewing the use of Tasers in the wake of 180 deaths in recent years.

This is the first time since Louisville police began using Tasers two years ago that someone died after being stunned with the weapon.

Chief White says he is familiar with the investigation, but has no plans to stop using Tasers at this time. "If I'm informed that the Taser was the cause of his death, then we'd certainly have to evaluate our use of Tasers ... but we're far from that."

We spoke by phone with Dr. John Morgan with the Department of Justice about the 180 cases currently under investigation. He told us evidence suggests that being stunned by a Taser was not the primary cause of death.

"In fact, in a majority of these situations, you have individuals who are highly compromised because of drug intoxication and other issues."

Right now the Department of Justice investigation is focusing on 30 deaths in which Tasers were called at least a contributing factor in the death. The experts conducting the study are primarily in the medical field.