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Georgia Cops Indicted for Murder in Taser Death of Handcuffed Man Gregory Towns

Gregory Towns in the custody of East Point, Georgia police. (11 Alive screen grab)

Gregory Towns in the custody of East Point, Georgia police. (11 Alive screen grab)

Two former Georgia police officers were indicted on murder charges Tuesday for the 2014 death of a young black father who was Tasered to death while shackled in handcuffs.

WSB reports former East Point Sgt. Marcus Eberhart and Cpl. Howard Weems were indicted on seven charges, including felony murder and involuntary manslaughter, in connection with the death of 24-year-old Gregory Towns on April 11, 2014.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, officers were dispatched to the condominium of Towns’ girlfriend on a domestic disturbance call when he fled on foot, prompting a police pursuit. Towns was sitting on the ground in a creek catching his breath after running for about a mile when officers caught up with him and handcuffed him.

Police records show that Towns asked officers at least 10 times to be allowed to rest before going with them. According to police records and a lawsuit filed by Towns’ family, Eberhart and Weems shot Towns with their Taser stun guns 14 times over the next 29 minutes, including pressing the electrified prongs directly against the victim’s skin, in an effort to get him to stand up and go with them.

The Fulton County Medical Examiner concluded Towns’ death was a homicide due to hypertensive cardiovascular disease exacerbated by “electrical stimulation.” Following the results of an internal Georgia Bureau of Investigation probe, then-East Point police chief Woodrow Blue fired Weems, with Eberhart resigning before he was terminated.

The indictment against the officers states that Towns was repeatedly shot with Tasers despite having his hands cuffed behind his back and “exhibiting symptoms of fatigue and shortness of breath.”

Towns left behind an infant son. The city of East Point agreed last November to pay to settle a lawsuit filed on the child’s behalf. Although the amount of the settlement was not disclosed, the city said the child would receive the maximum amount allowed by its insurance carrier, which is $1 million.

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