Officer’s Taser Use Ruled Reasonable after Patient Death

Published: December 30, 2015

No charges will be filed against a Minnesota hospital security officer who used his Taser in October to subdue a patient who later died.

The Stearns County Attorney’s Office found that officer Ricky Hess Jr. was justified in using his Taser on Danny Hammond, who had already fatally shot Aitkin County Deputy Steven Sandberg.

RELATED: Officer Fatally Shot While Monitoring Patient

Hess was responding to an active shooter situation in St. Cloud Hospital when he entered Hammond’s room and saw the fallen deputy with a pool of blood around him. Hess later found Hammond lying on the floor and ordered him to get on his back. After Hammond refused to cooperate, Hess used his stun gun and handcuffed the patient, according to sctimes.com.

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After pulling Hammond into the hallway, Hess noticed he wasn’t breathing. An autopsy later revealed he’d died of “sudden cardiac death as a likely result of previous existing heart disease, additional heart issues caused by his drug overdose, the physical altercation with Deputy Sandberg and the use of the Taser.”

Among the reasons the report listed for finding Hess’s Taser use justified was the fact that he was responding to a major crime and had no way of knowing about Hammond’s medical condition.

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