For a Minute-Plus, He Was Tased by Cop. 4 Days Later, He Died

Conn. police conducting internal probe after Ryan Marzi's death following trooper encounter
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2022 9:30 AM CDT

An obituary for Ryan Marzi notes that he "passed away unexpectedly in his sleep" in August, but an encounter he had with Connecticut state troopers just four days before his death is now under investigation. Per the Hartford Courant, two troopers, Desmond Stimson and Jessie Rainville, had responded to a domestic violence call in Canterbury on the night of Aug. 24, with the victim reporting that the 38-year-old from Hebron had damaged their cellphone and tried to keep them from leaving the residence. Police video shows Stimson confronting Marzi shortly after 10pm outside a garage, leading to a struggle. Stimson ends up on the ground, telling Marzi, "You broke my leg. You broke my leg, dude." That's around the time when Rainville, a rookie officer, shows up and instructs Marzi to get on the ground, and within seconds, she begins to tase him with her stun gun when he doesn't comply.

The tasing continues, with Marzi now on the ground moaning and begging Rainville to stop, and Stimson instructing Rainville to cuff Marzi. The two officers yell at Marzi to get on his stomach and put his hands behind his back, which he appears to have trouble doing. The Taser can be heard clattering in the video throughout the incident. Finally, Stimson tells Rainville, "Enough with that," and she deactivates the stun gun, more than a minute after she first pulled the trigger. State police say Marzi was transported to a hospital to get checked out, then arrested on charges of assault and interfering with an officer. He was released on a $7,500 bond, but four days later, he died at his family's home. The medical examiner's office says it's still trying to determine Marzi's cause of death.

Kenneth Barone of Connecticut's Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy tells the Middletown Press that a handful of people in the state have died after being tased by cops, and that most of those deaths aren't directly caused by the stun gun, though it can be a contributing factor. "It's really hard to know in these cases," Barone says. "Sometimes it turns out to be a heart attack and the question is: Did the Taser have an impact?" The Press adds that, per state police guidelines, there's no time limit on how long a Taser can be used—it just has to be used "reasonably" to get a suspect under control. Police say they're conducting an internal probe into the Aug. 24 incident. Stimson is on leave as his broken leg heals, while Rainville, a corrections officer for a decade before becoming a state trooper a year and a half ago, remains on the job while the investigation is ongoing. (More stun gun stories.)

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