Repeatedly Tasered, Man Dies After Being Taken Into Police Custody

Witnesses say they could audibly hear Michael Ruiz' skull thumping across the steps as police dragged him down the staircase.


[Caution: This video is very graphic and may be difficult for some to watch.]

No one seems to know why 44-year-old Michael Ruiz was on the roof of his apartment building on July 28th, but when Phoenix police arrived to help him down, that day took a horrific turn for the worse.

As I noted above, the video is hard to watch. It shows Ruiz on the roof of his apartment complex, and after he jumps down, police officers converge and repeatedly Taser him, put him in a choke hold for at least three minutes, then finally his hands and feet were handcuffed, and he is dragged -- face down -- down a flight of concrete stairs. Some witnesses say they saw police use a stun gun on Michael several times while he was still on the roof.

"Many of Michael's neighbors witnessed everything and recorded it all on their phones.

Gary Carthen was good friends with Michael, and witnessed it all.

"This was bad, very bad. Because he didn't deserve that to happen, not like that," he said.

Carthen and his neighbors want answers. Verna Young says you could hear his head banging on the stairs as police dragged him down.

"I started crying 'cause that's not right, to hurt nobody like that," she said. "He didn't deserve that. He was a nice person, very nice."'

Richard Erickson, Michael's father and retired LAPD detective told reporters that his son had some drug issues, but was never violent and respected police.

"I just felt sick to my stomach," he said, referring to the video. "I'd never seen anything like this before, even when I was with the police department."

Michael Ruiz had to be resuscitated at the scene, and when his family arrived at the hospital he was on life support. The doctors said that he was brain-dead. Family members removed him from life-support on August 2nd.

Erickson has hired an attorney and wants the officers involved fired.

"I don't want to see anyone else's son killed like this," he said.

"I think the video speaks for itself," said attorney Jocquese Blackwell, who has been hired by the family to get to the bottom of what happened. "They believe the officers involved in this particular case went too far. They went outside their authority."

The family is not seeking legal action yet.

Ruiz left behind 2 children and a wife.

About Diane Sweet

Diane Sweet's picture
Senior Editor, Lives in a gerrymandered district in Michigan.

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