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Man dies after being tasered by San Bernardino sheriff's deputy

May 12, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A driver has died after being tasered several times by a sheriff's deputy during a traffic stop. Now some people are questioning if the deputy used excessive force.

A memorial of flowers is laid outside a gas station off Highway 18. It was a much different scene on Tuesday after a traffic stop turned to tragedy.

Allen Kephart died after he was tasered multiple times by a San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy. The sheriff's department said Kephart ran a stop sign and kept on going despite a deputy's attempt to pull him over.

"If somebody fails to yield to an officer that is trying to stop them, when they do eventually stop the officer will conduct a high risk traffic stop," said Cindy Bachman from San Bernardino Sheriff's Department.

Authorities said Kephart eventually pulled into a Valero gas station and got out of his car. Sheriff's investigators said in the process of being taken into custody Kephart became combative and uncooperative.

The deputy used his taser to subdue him. Moments later Kephart was unconscious. Despite efforts to revive him, Kephart died.

Kephart, who was slightly developmentally slow, was very active in his community serving as an internet radio host and local writer for a news blog.

Pastor Dan Stipp from Lake Gregory Community Church remembered the 43-year-old as a gentle giant who volunteered as the church's audio and visual coordinator.

"He helped with special events in the community," said Stipp. "He was very much a 'God and Country' kind of person. Had a real heart for the military, for anyone in public service."

Kephart's own father was a sheriff's volunteer for more than two decades. So it came as a surprise to many who knew him that he would try to defy the law.

"I don't think they knew who he was and the problems he had, said Ed Legliu from the website Rim of the World. "So I think it was over the top."

"Allen was a voice for the people if something was wrong," said former classmate Angie Hunter. "If this wasn't Allen that this happened to, he would be standing up right now saying this is wrong."

The incident is under investigation and an autopsy will be performed to try and determine if there was an underlying cause that led to Kephart's death.


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