April 20, 2011,
As per the Newport Miner, Pend Oreille County Sheriff Alan Botzheim has delayed requesting an outside agency to investigate the death of Lee Hall who, after receiving a Taser strike in the face and chest on March 24, 2011, fell and broke his neck; ultimately dying of the injuries. Sheriff Botzheim states that he spoke with the Spokane County Sheriff who advised his department would do the investigation. Sheriff Botzheim decided to decline the offer from Spokane County because Pend Oreille District Attorney Tom Metzger suggested Sheriff Botzheim wait for the advice of the Pend Oreille County’s Liability Insurance Company, Canfield and Associates of Ephrata.
Wait, speaking of conflict of interest.
Any Insurance Company representing Pend Oreille County in this incident is outright biased and would be suspect if they find in favor of the county as the said Insurance Company might have to fork out several million dollars to the victim’s widow. I am not saying that the insurance company is biased but sure seems like a real possibility here.
To this day I don’t think the Pend Oreille County Deputy who tasered Lee Hall, causing him to fall and break his neck, did anything outside of the Taser Policy. I never said that was the case, only that there was poor judgment used in trying to oust a man who obviously portrayed suicidal tendencies from a trailer when there were no special circumstances and no hurry to get him out.
As you may have read in my first piece about the tasering incident, (www.associatedcontent.com/article/7937737/pend_oreille_sheriff_deputies_taser.html?cat=72) or maybe in the Newport Miner, Lee Hall got into a verbal and somewhat physical skirmish with his landlord and ended up throwing pieces of wood at that subject. Deputies were called and upon arrival, were met by an obviously mentally anguished subject named Lee Hall who had an axe handle and threatened them with it from across the locked gate. When the deputies did as they should have and drew their weapons, Lee Hall withdrew to a trailer and locked himself in it.
Deputies heard him rack a shell into what they thought was a rifle. They also heard him say that he expected to be killed by them. When the Pend Oreille Sheriff Department’s number two man, Undersheriff Grant Sirevog, called Spokane County for advice, the advice was excellent: Wait him out.
Wait him out, well, at least for a couple of hours!
But, someone in the chain of command couldn’t wait too long and deputies were soon busting the lock off of a back door and in a tug-of-war contest with the allegedly armed Hall. When the deputies won and Hall presented himself, in the open doorway, unarmed but in an aggressive manner, a deputy Tased Hall in the face and chest from close range, causing him to fall out of the trailer and break his neck.
Pend OreilleCounty to investigate incident themselves.
Sheriff Botzheim states that he is having an in-house investigation of the incident. Why does that ring of cronyism? If one of his deputies arrives at a conclusion he is not happy with, heck, that individual can easily be convinced to change his results or risk losing his job in the near future.
This is a tragic incident and should be investigated by an outside agency. Although the Spokane County Sheriff is a neighboring law enforcement entity, most believe they will be independent and prudent in their investigations. At least the results will sit better than having no one other than your own officers and a potentially biased insurance company complete the investigation!
The Newport Miner, April 20, 2011 edition
Yahoo Contributor Content: Pend Oreille Sheriff Deputy Taser Elderly Man in Face, Dies of Injuries.