(Update:OSP IDs man who died, officers involved, seeks witnesses; adding criminal record)
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A man collapsed and died after police used a stun gun on him Wednesday during an altercation in Albany, police said.
What escalated into a fatal encounter began routinely: A community service officer — a uniformed civilian who responds to non-emergency calls — contacted the man whose car was disabled on a street. He then requested non-emergency assistance from a patrol officer, the Albany Police Department said in a statement.
A physical altercation ensued between the motorist and two Albany police personnel, with the man assaulting the community service officer, the department said.
Police used a Taser on him.
“The subject went limp and became unconscious,” the police statement said. Police began CPR and used an automated external defibrillator. Fire department paramedics arrived and continued CPR, but the man died at the scene.
Oregon State Police later identified the man as James Plymell III, 45, of Albany, and said they and the Linn County Major Crimes Team want to hear from anyone who may have witnessed to eincident or have been with Plymell in the preceding 24-48 hours.
Oregon court records show that Plymell was convicted of unlawfully buying a gun, pleaded no contest to assault in the fourth degree, and faced other criminal charges going back years.
They also identified those involved in the incident as Albany police officers Emily Schroff, Gina Bell, Thomas Roten and Community Service Officer Gerry Morris. All have been placed on paid administrative leave, following standard protocols, they said.
Devin Russell, who works at the Battery X-Change store next to the scene, said the man was apparently in his car, with four officers present, when he was tased.
“They used more force than what you imagine what most people would use,” Russell said in a telephone interview.
He said he didn’t see the stun gun deployed, but watched as police pulled the unconscious man from the car. They tried to resuscitate him for about 20 minutes, he said.
Albany Police Capt. Brad Liles declined to comment on use of the stun gun, saying more information would come out as an investigation proceeds.
The Oregon State Police are leading a multi-agency investigation.
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News release from OSP:
Oregon State Police and Linn County Major Crimes Team (MCT) investigators are continuing an investigation into the death of an Albany man this morning and are asking anyone who may have witnessed the incident or who may have been with the man during in the preceding 24-48 hours to please contact them.
The deceased man, identified as James F. Plymell III, 45, of Albany, was contacted by Albany Police Department personnel near Santiam Road and Denver Street in Albany. During the course of the interaction, officers attempted to take Plymell into custody and a physical altercation ensued. At some point in the altercation, Plymell lost consciousness and officers transitioned to performing Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) with the aid of an Automated External Defibrillator(AED) until medical personnel arrived on-scene and pronounced Plymell deceased.
The officers involved in this incident are identified as Officer Emily Schroff, Officer Gina Bell, Officer Thomas Roten and Community Service Officer Gerry Morris, all of the Albany Police Department. Pursuant to standard protocols relating to these incidents, all have been placed on paid administrative leave as indicated in the Linn County Use of Deadly Physical Force Plan. Information relating to the cause or manner of death in this matter is being coordinated through the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office.
This investigation is ongoing and investigators are asking anyone who may have been in contact with Plymell during the preceding day(s) or anyone who may have witnessed or obtained video footage of the incident to contact Oregon State Police Detective Casi Hegney at 503-375-3555.
No further information available for release.
News release from Albany police:
On October 23, 2019, at 8:20 a.m., an Albany Police Community Service Officer contacted a stranded motorist on Santiam Road at Denver Street. The Community Service Officer requested non-emergency assistance from a patrol officer. A physical altercation ensued between the motorist and two Albany Police personnel with the motorist assaulting the Community Service Officer.
An emergency response was initiated for additional patrol officers while the subject continued fighting with Albany Police. A Taser was deployed during the incident.
The subject went limp and became unconscious. Albany Police personnel immediately began treating the subject and employed CPR and an AED. Albany Fire Department paramedics responded and continued CPR. The subject passed away at the scene.
Albany Police secured the scene and notified the Linn County Major Crimes Team. The incident is being treated as a deadly force incident and the Oregon State Police are leading the multi-agency investigation. The identity of the deceased subject and involved police officers are being withheld during the initial inquiry and notification of next of kin.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Oregon State Police Major Crimes Detective Cassi Hegney at 503-375-3555.
KTVZ and AP 2019