COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KDVR) – The district attorney who oversees criminal cases in El Paso County is reviewing the in-custody death of a Colorado Springs man who was tased and restrained by police inside his home before he died.
“That case is under review,” said Lee Richards, a public information officer for Dan May, the district attorney in the Fourth Judicial District of Colorado.
Richards could not say how long it would take May to investigate the incident in which Chad Burnett, 49, died on May 24, 2020.
Police responded to Burnett’s home on the 2700 block of Ashgrove Street after neighbors reported that he was threatening at least one person with a knife.
When officers arrived, Burnett was inside his home, and he initially refused to come outside or open the front door. The police officers tried to speak to Burnett through the door.
One officer could be heard in police body-camera footage saying, “We won’t hurt you, of course not. We’re here to help you.”
Eventually, Burnett came outside his home and spoke with police for a few moments before they chased him back into his house, tased him and handcuffed him.
Burnett resisted the officers attempts to take him outside of his home in cuffs.
They restrained him inside the home, and according to the police department, an officer contacted dispatchers to request a medical crew to respond to the scene because an officer had deployed a taser.
When Burnett stopped struggling and moving, officers placed a spit sock hood over his face.
The spit sock hood, according to Lt. James Sokolik, a spokesperson for the Colorado Springs Police Department, is used to stop combative prisoners from spitting fluid or blood on officers.
At various times, officers discussed whether Burnett was breathing and had a pulse. One officer said, “I think he’s just unconscious,” and another replied, “or he’s playing possum.”
According to a police timeline, the medical crew arrived 15 minutes after they were first contacted about the taser deployment.
“Hey, Chad,” said one officer, “We’re sorry this happened, but you have to listen to the police, OK? Do you understand that?”
Burnett did not respond. Eventually, the officers started chest compressions and removed the hood from Burnett’s head.
Burnett did not survive.