The public is outraged after two officers in West Milwaukee, Wisconsin, were cleared of any charges in the case of Adam Trammell, a mentally ill black man who died after being repeatedly tased in the shower of his own home. You can view police body cam footage of the incident above, though please be forewarned it’s disturbing and may not be suitable for all audiences.
The 22-year-old man had a diagnosis of schizophrenia when police broke down his door in May 2017 after a concerned neighbor called saying he was acting erratically, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Additionally, authorities were aware that the housing complex where Trammell resided was home to people with mental illnesses, police documents state.
According to the neighbor, Trammell was apparently talking to himself about the devil, and she was concerned that he was a danger to himself.
Body cam footage show two officers, whom documents identified as Michael Rohleder and Anthony Munoz, forcing open Trammel’s door and encountering him in the shower. The officers mistakenly call him by the name of Brandon, and he appears to be confused with a blank stare while standing in the shower.
The officers demand Trammell to come out of the shower, and the man subsequently fills a jug of water before splashing them twice in an apparent panic.
One of the officers can be heard in the video warning Trammell “you’re going to get tased” if he doesn’t comply with the demands given. The seemingly frightened and bewildered man remains in the shower without uttering a single word.
As an officer reaches into the shower, Trammell raises his hands to apparently defend himself. The officer is then seen stepping back before tasing the mentally ill man, who screams before collapsing into the shower.
“…Can you listen to us?,” an officer asks as Trammell lays in the shower, momentarily unresponsive as his head sways back and forth.
Trammell is then seen coming back to, when he sits up, rocks back and forth and grabs the bathtub faucet in seemingly obvious distress.
The officers can then be heard telling Trammell to stop moving and relax, before they tase him again sounding off more agonizing screams.
According to the police documents, which you can view above, the man was tased a total of 18 times before losing consciousness in a hallway outside of his apartment, approximately 30 minutes after first being tased.
Upon arrival, paramedics administered sedatives, ketamine and midazolam, which was cited in the medical examiner’s report, and Trammell stopped breathing and lost his pulse by the time he was put into an ambulance. He died soon after arriving at the hospital.
The medical examiner’s report revealed Trammell suffered a black eye, broken rib and a multitude of bruises and cuts. While his cause of death was not directly attributed to being tased, it was listed as a contributing factor.
The official cause of death was listed as “excited delirium,” a condition which isn’t recognized by the American Medical Association or American Psychological Association, but is instead described by the Journal Sentinel as “a controversial condition often cited when police use force.”
While the officers were initially placed on administrative duty following the tragic incident, they later returned to full duty, official documents revealed.
“They’ve seen the video and they weep every time they see it. We had a young man in a bath tub naked, OK? Why they engaged in tasing for 15 to 18 times is beyond my imagination,” Mark Thomsen, an attorney for Trammell’s family told WISN. He continued:
The family first saw the video at the DA’s office. So yes they’ve seen the video and they weep every time they see it. We had a young man in a bathtub naked, OK? Why they engaged in tasing for 15 to 18 times is beyond my imagination. For no good reason. And essentially tortured to death. That should not happen to the mentally ill in our community.
The family is now pursuing a lawsuit, according to WISN.
The deceased man’s father, Larry Trammell, told the Journal Sentinel that he believed the officers should willingly resign due to what happened to his son.
“This is a nightmare. I can’t believe this,” he told the newspaper.