Donaldsonville man dies after being tased

Charmin Bennett (Source: Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office)
Charmin Bennett (Source: Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office)
Charmin Bennett (Source: Photo provided by family members)
Charmin Bennett (Source: Photo provided by family members)

DONALDSONVILLE, LA (WAFB) - A Donaldsonville burglary suspect is dead after twice being tased by an Ascension Parish Sheriff's deputy.

An investigation is underway to determine if the use of Taser guns caused the man's death.

Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley says Charmin Bennett, 30, is accused of breaking into a home in D'ville Village Apartment in Donaldsonville around 4 a.m. Thursday.

Wiley says four people inside the home report Bennett "dove head first through a closed glass window" and "landed on an occupant of the home who was in bed." The homeowner's son armed himself with a hatchet to protect his family until deputies arrived, Wiley said.

Wiley says responding deputies tried to take Bennett into custody but he resisted and deputies "deployed a taser in order to attain compliance." "After being tased, the man removed the taser probes from his abdomen and continued to actively resist arrest."

Wiley says Bennett then used a floor fan to try to fight off deputies. At that point, the sheriff says "a second deputy deployed a taser" and struck the suspect in the abdomen again. The suspect continued to resist arrest, Wiley said, and deputies were eventually able to handcuff him.

Sheriff Wiley says his men followed policy when they responded to the D'Ville Apartments.

Wiley says while being transported to a hospital, Bennett "went unconscious and went into cardiac arrest." He was pronounced dead upon arrival at Prevost Hospital, Wiley said.

Bennett's sisters are upset over the incident. "You can't tell me a 30 year old black man with no health issues at all, and they tase him one time and he's dead. I don't understand that, somebody's gotta give me answers because that's ridiculous," said Samantha Bennett.

Sheriff Wiley says there appears to be no connection between Bennett and the people in the house. This is not Bennett's first run-in with the law. His criminal history shows an attempted rape, multiple burglaries and a number of disturbing the peace, resisting arrest and theft charges.

According to the worldwide advocacy group Amnesty International, Taser guns have been linked to the deaths of 500 people in the United States since 2001.

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