Crime & Justice

Death of man Tasered by Pasadena police under investigation

A man holds a sign Friday afternoon outside of the apartment complex where a black man died after being Tasered and subdued by Pasadena police. Investigators from the LA County Sheriff's Department are looking into the circumstances surrounding the death.
A man holds a sign Friday afternoon outside of the apartment complex where a black man died after being Tasered and subdued by Pasadena police. Investigators from the LA County Sheriff's Department are looking into the circumstances surrounding the death.
Jacob Margolis / KPCC

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Detectives are investigating the death of a Pasadena man who died after a confrontation with police. Police say they were attempting to subdue a man with a knife. Family members say he died after he was Tasered and beaten by officers. 

The incident took place on the 250 block of East Orange Grove Boulevard early Friday morning at 2:05 a.m., the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.

Police were called to the scene of a domestic disturbance where they encountered a man with a knife, according to a statement from the Pasadena Police Department. After the man, who was black, refused to comply with officers' orders and tried to re-enter an occupied apartment, officers used a Taser to try and disarm him. That set off a fight, which ended with the man being subdued, police said.

After being restrained, the man stopped breathing, leading the police to administer CPR until the arrival of Pasadena Fire paramedics, who then kept trying to revive him. He died at the scene, police said.

While officials have yet to identify the man, Antoinette Delaney said his name was Reginald Thomas, her younger brother. Delaney was among dozens who gathered outside of building where Thomas died.

"He's the one who called them," she told KPCC. "So how does a victim that's calling for help get murdered?"

Homicide detectives from the Sheriff's Department are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding his death. 

Protesters gather on the 200 block of Orange Grove Avenue in Pasadena close to where a man was found dead after a struggle with police.
Protesters gather on the 200 block of Orange Grove Avenue in Pasadena close to where a man was found dead after a struggle with police.
Jacob Margolis/ KPCC

Shainie Lindsay told KTLA-TV the man was the father of her children, bi-polar and had called police for help, according to the Associated Press. She says he had a knife and fire extinguisher, and did not respond to officers' orders to put them down because "he was out of it."

She told the Associated Press that police used a stun gun on him twice, and that he dropped the extinguisher but a struggle followed with officers using batons and kicks to subdue him.

Delaney wasn't sure why her brother called the police.

“I just know he was afraid of himself I guess, I’m not for sure,” she said.

The incident again highlights the challenges law enforcement faces when dealing with people with mental health issues.

The LAPD has created a nationally-recognized Mental Evaluation Unit that includes a number of teams of police officers paired with county mental health workers. They focus in part on defusing situations on the streets involving individuals experiencing mental problems.

The Pasadena Police Department has its own version of the unit, called Homeless Outreach-Psychiatric Evaluation, or HOPE. It consists of three two-person teams of officers and mental health clinicians , according to Pasadena PD Lt. John Mercado. Their shifts are spread out to cover much of the week, but none was on duty when Friday morning’s call came in.

The incident comes just two days after a black man was shot dead by police in El Cajon after he allegedly pointed a vape pen at them.

This story has been updated.