Carbondale police taser suspect in street altercation
September 18, 2013
CARBONDALE — Police here say the arrest of two men and a woman and the tasing of one of them, in the early morning hours of Sept. 7 outside the Mi Casita restaurant on Main Street, was caused by misbehavior on the part of the three arrested.
At approximately 2:30 a.m., according to Carbondale Police Chief Gene Schilling, officers encountered Sedric Grandberry, 23, allegedly behaving belligerently as he walked down the street, according to police.
Schilling said Grandberry was "in altercations with people, he was very unhappy, using foul language and racial slurs at people" that were on the sidewalk with him.
When the officers told Grandberry to stop that behavior, according to Schilling, a friend of Grandberry's, Steven Puzick, 23, started videotaping the confrontation.
Police told Puzick to back off a short distance, Schilling said, but Puzick refused and kept videotaping from close up.
"They told him, you're more than welcome to go to the sidewalk and videotape," Schilling continued, adding that the police already had their tasers out and pointed at Grandberry, from the beginning of the encounter.
When Puzick allegedly refused to move away, an officer fired at him with a taser and incapacitated Puzick, Schilling reported.
At the same time, Schilling said, a woman named Stacey Evans, 33, allegedly was trying to interfere with the officers, and allegedly stepped in between the officers and Grandberry at one point to shield him.
All three were arrested and taken to the Garfield County Jail.
Grandberry was charged with disorderly conduct and introduction of contraband into the jail, Schilling said, alleging that jail personnel found marijuana on Grandberry when they searched him.
Puzick, Schilling said, was charged with obstructing a peace officer in the commission of his duties, as was Evans.
Schilling said his officers do not often use their tasers on suspects.
"If I had to guess, I'd say two, three, maybe four times in a year," he said, noting that the department's taser instructor, officer Scott Wilhelm, was on vacation and is the one who maintains the statistics on such issues.
"Officers also sometimes pull them out to get people to comply," the chief added, noting that in such situations the taser is not fired, just pointed.
"It's a very rare occurrence that they use their tasers," he said of the Carbondale force.