Albany family wants answers into tasing death -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Albany family wants answers into tasing death

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - An Albany man's family wants answers after 38-year old Ricky Massey died after police in Panama City tased him.

Police stopped the car Friday as part of a narcotics investigation and when Massey tried to destroy evidence by swallowing it a struggle began. Officers tased Massey and then called for EMS when it was clear he needed medical attention. He later died at the hospital. Family members say they're upset their questions have gone unanswered.

Massey's family was notified early Saturday morning, but when they made the two and a half hour trip to Panama City Saturday, they weren't even allowed to see his body and were turned away with no information about what happened to someone they describe as healthy.

Patricia Norris last saw her 38 year old son Rickey Massey alive last Thursday. Early Saturday morning she got a phone call, telling her he had been in a traffic stop along with Jarell Daniels of Albany near Turtle Lake apartments in Panama City. Officers say Massey swallowed what appeared to be cocaine, then resisted arrested and was tased by police, and later died. Now she wants to know why.

"I just want to know what's what, you know what I'm saying," said Patricia Norris, Massey's mother.

Despite traveling to Panama City to the medical examiners office they got few answers.

"If he swallowed that stuff why would they, that's already going to trigger you, you know what I'm saying," said Norris.

Panama City Medical examiners say until toxicology and the examination of tissue from Massey's body are complete his cause of death is unknown. Massey was drive stunned, meaning the probes were not expelled from the taser police used. Local officials say a stun from the gun doesn't last long.

"Each time the unit's deployed the cycle lasts about five seconds," said Dougherty County Sheriff's Office Traning Director Captain John Ostrander.

The Dougherty County Sheriff's Office only uses the device when it becomes necessary to stop a physical confrontation but not if the person is elderly, a pregnant woman, or smaller.

"We look at individuals that are very young or small in stature, if they're below a certain body weight we would generally not use a taser," said Ostrander.

Massey's family is hoping other family members in the car can explain, for now they're still in jail and not cooperating with police.

"I just don't understand, I really don't," said Norris.

Massey's body was brought back to Albany late Tuesday afternoon. The J.L. Litman Funeral home is handling the funeral arrangements. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement continues to investigate the incident.

Panama City Police Officers A.C. Llorens and Michael McCrary are on administrative leave pending the investigation. Bay County Sheriff's Officers Ray Scott and Steve Retherford were not involved in the stunning incident.

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