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Colton man dies after police fire Tasers

January 16, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Relatives mourn the death of their father following a deadly encounter with police after officers used a Taser gun more than once to get him under control.

The family says they called police for help, and instead their father ended up dead. An investigation is now under way into whether police used excessive force.

A Colton Police Department spokesman said the man who died was resisting arrest, but there's nothing to indicate that he was threatening officers.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Dept. is investigating the incident.

"He was yelling, 'Stop, please, please,' and they didn't let up," said the victim's stepson, Eddie Hernandez.

"They Tasered him like right here, and all we heard him screaming was 'No, stop,' and he was already down on and they kept on Tasing him," said Biviana Serrano, the victim's daughter.

The daughter and stepson of 43-year-old Hutalio Serrano say police used excessive force.

It all started around 5 p.m. Sunday when family members spotted Serrano across the street acting strangely.

"He was just walking up and down the street, kind of pacing, he looked like something was wrong with him," said Hernandez.

That's when family members called police, who arrived about 5:15.

Kelly Martinez, an eyewitness to the incident, says he was walking home when he saw the officers fire their Tasers.

"I'm not sure if I heard four or five pops, but they Tased him over and over and over. He was pleading for God to help him," said Martinez.

Colton Police, who were unavailable to speak on camera because of the holiday, say three officers fired Tasers, and it took all three of them to handcuff Serrano.

Kelly Martinez says in his opinion, the victim was never a threat.

"I think Tasers are a good tool and a good weapon, but when they're used excessively like that, no, this is just absurd," said Martinez.

"We understand that sometimes officers do need to use force, but so obsessive that the man dies, that's not correct," said Eddie Hernandez.

Family members say they don't know whether Hutalio Serrano was under the influence. But they were concerned enough about his condition to call 911.

"We called police to help," said Hernandez.

"They didn't help at all. They just made it worse. They killed him," said Biviana Serrano.

Colton Police say as soon as they realized he was having a medical emergency, he was hospitalized. He was pronounced dead about an hour later. An autopsy was expected to be performed later in the week.