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GBI probes officer-involved death of Askari Roberts

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The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has opened a probe into the officer-involved death of a Floyd County man who struggled with police and had a stun gun used on him.

Askari Roberts, 38, died early Wednesday after a struggle at his father’s home with Floyd County Sgts. Greg Beck and Brandon Robinson. Both officers were placed on administrative leave with pay pending the GBI investigation, police said.

That investigation is expected to last a minimum of two months. It will include Roberts’ autopsy, scheduled for today, interviews and toxicology reports. Once complete, the case file will be given to District Attorney Leigh Patterson, said Greg Ramey, special agent in charge of the GBI’s Calhoun office.

Police say Roberts, who claimed people wanted to kill him, fought with officers at his father’s 3189 Morton Bend Road home late Tuesday. A stun gun was used on Roberts as officers tried to handcuff him, and at some point he became unresponsive. Officers performed CPR on Roberts before an ambulance took him to the hospital, where he died.

Jackie Roberts, Askari’s father, said his son was released from prison last week. On Tuesday Askari Roberts used methamphetamine and cocaine, and he arrived by cab at his father’s home that night.

Askari Roberts told his father a gang wanted to kill him.

“He thought they were coming down here to kill him and my family, too,” Jackie Roberts said. “He was getting more paranoid and hyped up.”

Jackie Roberts told his son he’d find something to calm him.

He then walked toward the kitchen, and Askari grabbed him.

“He said, ‘Daddy, you’re trying to kill me,’” Jackie Roberts said. “He was squeezing me real tight.”

Askari Roberts then began choking Jackie Roberts’ wife, who stood nearby.

Jackie Roberts pried his son away and held him until the first officer arrived at 9:50 p.m., followed by the second officer four minutes later.

The officers got one handcuff on Askari Roberts’ right wrist, but couldn’t easily secure the left cuff. The officers then pulled Askari Roberts from a loveseat, breaking a TV as they took him to the floor, Jackie Roberts said.

Askari’s father tried to hold his son’s arm down, though officers struggled with the last handcuff. One of them then said he’d use a stun gun.

“They did tase him about two or three times,” Jackie Roberts said.

Maj. Mark Wallace said Beck tried to “drive-stun” Askari Roberts, placing the stun gun against skin.

“I’m sure he felt it,” Wallace said, adding that he doesn’t know how long Askari felt the stun because of the ongoing struggle.

Moments later Askari Roberts stopped responding, Jackie Roberts said.

“They were giving him CPR,” Jackie Roberts said of the police. “They finally got a breath back in him, but it was a short breath.”

Police said the officers at one point used an automated external defibrillator on Askari Roberts. The machine told them the shock wasn’t advised, and the officers continued CPR.

An ambulance arrived at 10:16 p.m. and took Askari to Floyd Medical Center, where doctors pronounced him dead at 12:36 a.m. The cause of death is pending his autopsy.

“I asked why someone would want to kill him,” Jackie Roberts said of his son. “He said someone in Rome had a hit on him. That’s what he said.”

According to a Floyd County Police Department release:

Tuesday night at approximately 8:01 p.m., Jackie Roberts called Floyd County 911 wanting to make a report of someone “putting a hit out on his son” Askari Roberts.

A short time later a Floyd County police officer contacted Roberts by telephone in regard to this report and also spoke to Askari about the complaint.

At approximately 9:30 p.m. on the same date, Ella Roberts called Floyd County 911 and reported that at 3189 Morton Bend Road, Askari Roberts, a 38-year-old male was being held down by a 64-year-old male Jackie Roberts in order “to keep him from hurting them”

At 9:32 p.m. a Floyd County Police Officer was dispatched to that residence. At 9:38 p.m. another Floyd County Police Officer advised he was en route to that residence.

At approximately 9:50 p.m. a Floyd County Police Officer arrived at 3189 Morton Bend Road. At 9:52 p.m. that Officer transmitted that he needed another unit and to “step it up”. At 9:54 p.m. the second Officer arrived at 3189 Morton Bend Road. At 9:59 p.m. one of the on-scene officers requested that an Ambulance be dispatched to the residence with normal response.

At 10:03 p.m. one of the on-scene officers requested that the ambulance “step it up” that “he is unconscious at this time”. At 10:04 p.m. one of the on-scene officers advised 911 that they were attempting CPR. At 10:10 p.m. an on-scene officer advised 911 that they applied the AED. At 10:11 p.m. an on-scene officer advised that the AED stated that “shock not advised” and they were continuing CPR. CPR was performed by the officers until the arrival of Redmond EMS at 10:16 p.m.

Redmond EMS transported Askari Roberts to Floyd Medical Emergency Room where life saving measures were attempted by Emergency Room personnel. However, Askari Roberts died at approximately 12:36 a.m. Wednesday morning.

During this call the on-scene officers attempted to subdue and handcuff Askari Roberts and they were assisted by Jackie Roberts, Askari’s father.

During the struggle, one of the officers attempted to use his Taser to “Drive Stun” Askari Roberts but he would grab the Taser. During one of the attempts that Askari Roberts made to grab the Taser the officers were able to grab his arm and handcuff him although Askari Roberts continued to fight and kick the officers. Shortly after, the officers noticed that Askari was unresponsive and began CPR.

Due to Askari Roberts becoming unresponsive during the struggle with officers, The Floyd County Police Department requested the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to conduct an investigation into this incident.

The officers involved will not be identified at this time and have been placed on paid administrative leave. Beyond this release, the Floyd County Police Department will direct any further inquiries into this incident to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.