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Local Dentist Tased, Charged, Released

(5/10/10 Updated)

I received a report that there had been a taser incident with SMPD, so I contacted Chief Diaz, and asked what she could tell me.  Here's her response:  "Saturday night (5/8/10) a resident called police to report a man was seated in a parked car playing loud music.  Officers arrived and found the man in the car.  He was intoxicated.  Officers tried to arrest him for public intoxication, and he resisted.  The officer deployed the Taser and took the man into custody after he was cleared for booking at Arcadia Methodist Hospital. The suspect was charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest."  In a follow-up communication, Chief Diaz confirmed that the person that was tased was Ben Jeffries, a local dentist.  She also confirmed the officers involved.  Chief Diaz: "The primary officer was Kyle Baas.  The assisting officer was Off. John Ellins, and the supervisor was Corporal Chuck Kamchamnam."  To clear up some misinformation that I'm hearing, the Chief tells me that the vehicle was parked on the street, not private property.  FYI - SMPD vehicles are equipped with video equipment, and officers are required to wear and activate audio recorders.  These recordings are not subject to release while the investigation is ongoing.

CORRECTION - Chief Diaz now informs me that the car was in the driveway.  Big difference.

(5/11/10) Update on Tasing Incident

I contacted Chief Diaz, and asked the following questions: I have a witness who says that it appeared that when Dr. Jeffries was tased, his hands were behind his back when he fell.  Was he cuffed at the time of the tasing?  Who actually operated the taser?  Also, are there any indications that there was anything in his system other than alcohol?  Are tests being run to determine if there was anything in his system?  Have any of the officers involved been investigated in the past for excessive use of force?  The Chief responded as follows: "I have provided you with all of the information that the law allows.  The case has not yet been submitted to the prosecutors for review, so it is inappropriate to try it in the media or the public.  As soon as the case is adjudicated, you will have access to the information through the courts.  I know you are trying to provide information people want to know and I respect what you doŚmy responsibilities are to ensure that the law and our policies are followed.  Thank you for understanding."  I have contacted Dr. Jeffries and asked if he would like to discuss the incident and tell his side of the story.  He responded that he would review what I have posted so far, and if he felt he wanted to talk with me, he'd get back to me.


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