Video captures death of Quitman man

October 4, 2007

Quitman --  Quitman police used a taser against Samuel Baker during a scuffle outside a convenience store. The whole thing was caught on tape, from the moment Baker walked into the store to the point when paramedics put him in an ambulance.  

The GBI is still investigating what killed the 59-year-old Baker; The effects of a taser during a scuffle with police, or a heart attack?

[The video of this story should be posted before 7:00 tonight.]

The surveillance tape shows Baker walking into the Friendly Mart on West Screven Street and buying a soda. While he's doing that, the police are pulling up outside. Investigators say they were flagged down by a passerby who saw Baker carrying a knife.

As soon as he walks outside, the officer yells at him to stop. You can't see it, but investigators say Baker flashed the officers his knife. The officer tases Baker, who falls to the ground grabbing his chest.

Police grab the knife from under his shirt, struggle to hand-cuff him and shortly after his body goes limp.

Here the officer calls paramedics, who try to resuscitate him. Around this time, Bakers family arrived after hearing all the sirens down the street.

"We decided we'd go down to the store and check out and see what's going on down there. Come to find out, it was Sammy," said his brother, Curtis Baker.

"I said I know it couldn't be Sammy because he don't bother nobody. I heard he had a knife but he always had a knife because he goes through the woods. He always has a knife at all times," said Verrgie Hill, his cousin.

He was pronounced dead moments later at the hospital and investigators say this video will help them solve the case.

"Anytime we have video of what occurred certainly helps us determine what did occur. So at this time we are reviewing that video as well as other information we got," said Ronny Thompson, of the Thomasville GBI Office.

And answer all the questions still surrounding his death.

The GBI says they are still waiting for autopsy results and the data taken from the taser before they make an official ruling about the cause of death.