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By Melody McDonald Star-Telegram Staff Writer FORT WORTH _ A 35-year-old Fort Worth woman who was stunned by a Taser and later stopped breathing while being booked into jail died of a drug overdose, according to the medical examiner's office.
Carolyn Daniels sudden death on June 24 was an accident caused by acute cocaine intoxication, the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office has ruled.
Daniels, who was arrested on suspicion of being publicly intoxicated on a substance other than alcohol, died at an area hospital about 90 minutes after she was shocked by a Taser, officials have said.
According to police reports:
Daniels had flagged down officer R.A. Elston in the 1100 block of East Allen Avenue and told him, ``They are after me.''
When Elston pulled his patrol car to the curb, Daniels tried to open both the front and rear passenger doors as if trying to enter the car. Because Daniels was acting erratically and not making sense, Elston suspected she was on drugs. Elston asked Daniels for identification, which she said was in her purse.
When Elston opened the purse, he saw a crack pipe inside. When Elston tried to arrest Daniels, she began to ``actively resist'' as he tried to handcuff her.
After Daniels was handcuffed, Elston shot her with a Taser cartridge after she kicked at the officer as he tried to put her inside his patrol car. Elston shocked her a second time after she continued to resist and spit blood at a backup officer.
Daniels was taken to the Fort Worth Jail, where she stopped breathing shortly after being helped inside.
She was taken to Harris Methodist Fort Worth hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 7:39 p.m., about 90 minutes after her encounter with Fort Worth police.
George Bell, Daniel's brother, believes that the officer had other options than stunning his sister with a Taser.
``A grown man can take a woman down if they want to,'' Bell told the Star-Telegram in a previous interview. ``They have all kinds of holds they can put on people to make people comply with what they want _ twist their arm, a choke hold _ you can do all those things just to make that person calm down.
Lt. Dean Sullivan, a police spokesman, said the department is investigating whether Elston violated department policy in using the Taser. Although there are exceptions, department policy generally prohibits officers from using a Taser on handcuffed suspects.
``We have been awaiting the results of the Medical Examiner's finding and determination in regard to this matter,'' Sullivan said. ``Given this information, we can proceed with our internal and administrative reviews.''