Friday, April 17, 2009

Detroit Youth, Robert Mitchell, 16, Dies After Being Tasered by Warren Police

Tasered teen described as storyteller, jokester

April 17, 2009

The last time Reasha Ardis saw her little brother, he was begging her in typical teenage fashion to drive him to the store.

"Not now, Tazzy," she said because she was tired after work. "Next time I see you."

Robert Mitchell, nicknamed Tazzy by his family -- as in the Tasmanian Devil cartoon character because of his boundless energy -- died the next day after being zapped by a Warren police officer with an electronic stun gun.

"Now I'll never hear him ask to go to the store or to borrow a dollar, all that simple stuff," said Ardis, 25.

As the Macomb County Prosecutor's Office continued its investigation into the April 10 death, Mitchell's family readied for an 11 a.m. Saturday funeral at Second Ebenezer Church in Detroit.

They have called on Warren to at least suspend the two officers involved in the incident. But they're trying to focus on the good times they shared with 16-year-old Mitchell.

"He was the storyteller of the family," said Ramell Savage, 14, one of Mitchell's three brothers in a brood of seven.

Mostly, Mitchell was a normal teen, they said. He loved music, played football with his brothers and bummed rides from older relatives.

He was with two older relatives April 10 when police pulled over the car Mitchell was riding in to investigate an expired license plate, authorities said.

Mitchell, who had no criminal record and was a special education student, allegedly ran, leading officers into an abandoned house in Detroit.

Warren police have said that one of the officers shocked Mitchell once with a Taser when the teen resisted arrest. He quit breathing afterward. Attempts to revive him failed.

But Ardis said she doesn't want her brother to be remembered just for his final moments.

"He was the jokester," she said. "He could just come up with a joke out of the blue and get you laughing.

"I'll miss that."

Contact AMBER HUNT: 313-223-4526 or

Death is raising Taser questions

Mayor isn't sold on police use

April 15, 2009

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts questioned Tuesday whether police should continue using Tasers in the city, following the death last week of a 16-year-old shocked with one of the stun guns.

Fouts, who was a stun gun critic as a city councilman, called for an independent investigation to determine whether Tasers are safe.

"You can't overlook the tragic death of a human being," Fouts said.

The Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality and family and friends of Robert Mitchell attended the Warren City Council meeting Tuesday night. Mitchell's grandmother Charlotte McGlory, 63, of St. Clair Shores said she and others plan to attend every Warren council meeting and speak out "until we see some changes."

An unarmed Mitchell, who had a learning disability, was riding in a car pulled over for an expired license plate. He fled to an abandoned house in Detroit, where Warren police shocked him. He died Friday.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Family of Tasered teen to address Warren City Council on weapon's dangers

Christine Ferretti / The Detroit News

Warren -- Relatives of a Detroit teen who died Friday after Warren Police shocked him with a Taser are planning to address the City Council tonight about the dangers of the electro-shock weapon.

Robert Mitchell, 16, died shortly after cops zapped him one time for resisting arrest following a foot chase that ended in an abandoned home on Pelkey in Detroit.

Police said during a traffic stop on Eight Mile near Schoenherr, the Kettering High School sophomore bailed out of the Dodge Stratus he was riding in and fled. Police had pulled the car over for an expired license plate.

Ron Scott of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, which has partnered with the family, said spiritual advisors and the Ministerial Alliance of Macomb County are expected to attend tonight's meeting to offer support.

"The family is coming out to look at the culture that precipitated the death of Robert Mitchell and let it be known that the officers in question must be responsible for what they did," Scott said. "They are seeking justice."

On Monday, Mitchell's family retained a lawyer to investigate the incident. They plan to file a lawsuit against the city and the officers involved.

Warren Police have said the actions of both officers were justified. The officers were expected to return to work today after being placed on paid leave Friday.

Mitchell is the second Michigan teen to die after being hit with a Taser in less than a month; a 15-year-old Bay City resident died March 22.

An autopsy was conducted Saturday for Mitchell, who took medications for an attention-deficit disorder. Results are still pending. (586) 468-0343

Find this article at:

No comments: