Phoenix Police Called To Talk Non-Threatening Man Off Roof; Taser Him Five Times; Man Dies

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A 44 year-old man in Phoenix was on an apartment roof “acting strangely,” according to local television news reports. So witnesses called the police to help him down. Instead, the police ended up killing him.

Michael Ruiz, the son of a former police detective, got on his apartment roof on July 28, alarming residents who knew of his ongoing drug issues. Fearful that Ruiz would harm himself, they called the cops. When the police arrived, they “coaxed” him off the roof with multiple taser shots and then proceed to drag him in handcuffs down the stairs.

Witnesses said Ruiz’ unsupported head was repeatedly hitting the concrete stairs so hard they could hear the impacts.

His father, Richard Erickson, saw the video made him sick to his stomach.

“I’d never seen anything like this before, even when I was with the police department,” he told ABC-15.

“I started crying ’cause that’s not right, to hurt nobody like that,” said neighbor Verna Young. “He didn’t deserve that. He was a nice person, very nice.”

The EMS report stated Ruiz had been tased five times. He had to be resuscitated once in custody, but he was hospitalized and was eventually put on life support. Erickson decided five days after the incident to take him off life support, and Ruiz died.

Erickson has hired an attorney and said he is seeking the termination of the officers involved in the incident.

Phoenix police are still investigating and have given no comment.

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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