ME: Man's death not caused by use of Taser - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

ME: Man's death not caused by use of Taser

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MERIDEN, CT (WFSB) -

The use of a Taser did not play a factor in the death of Meriden man who died after police used a stun gun on him, according to officials at the Chief Medical Examiner's Office.

Noel Mendoza, 43, pulled into the parking lot of the police department on Sunday night and started yelling that someone was after him.

Police said Mendoza was showing signs of paranoia and drug use, and police said he actually admitted to them that he had smoked crack and swallowed cocaine.

An ambulance was brought in to bring Mendoza to Mid-State Medical Center, and as EMTs were trying to get him into it, he began to flail around and started to scream and was eventually handcuffed.

Police tried to subdue Mendoza, but his strange behavior continued as he began spitting saliva and blood at the police officers and EMTs. Police said he also tried to bite them.

One of the police officers used a stun gun in an attempt to gain control of Mendoza and stop him from fighting. Police said at one point, the man grabbed the Taser while he was handcuffed and wouldn't let it go.

After he arrived at the hospital, he was still combative and medical staff tried to medicate him to calm him down. Mendoza died shortly after arriving to the emergency room.

Meriden police officer Jeff Witkin was assigned to desk duty while state police began an investigation on the incident. Witkin had been a member of the police department since 2006.

City leaders said they have policies on the books regarding Taser use by the police department. Every trigger pull or cycle of the Taser must be justified and documented.

The state medical examiner's office performed an autopsy on Mendoza and could not determine the cause of death until the outcome of a toxicology report.

Officials with the Meriden-Wallingford chapter of the NAACP announced Tuesday that they are launching an investigation into the incident. They demand that police departments stop their use of Tasers.

Family members said Mendoza had attempted to enter a rehab facility for drug abuse shortly before his death.

Mendoza's death was the third involving Taser use in Meriden.

Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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