New details surface in Bertie taser death

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 11, 2008

WINDSOR – More information has surfaced in the circumstances surrounding the death of Clarence Smith Jr., who was tasered by deputies from the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office.

Early Tuesday afternoon, two BSCO deputies went to pick up Smith, 29, of US 13/17 just outside of Windsor, for involuntary commitment at the request of his family.

Less than an hour later, he died at Bertie Memorial Hospital.

According to Bertie County Sheriff Greg Atkins, two deputies initially arrived at Smith’s home and attempted to take him into custody, and at some point two more deputies arrived.

Smith apparently resisted and was placed into handcuffs and shackles by law enforcement officers.

&uot;In an attempt to gain control of Mr. Smith, deputies struggled with him for several minutes and eventually deployed a taser,&uot; the BCSO stated in a press release issued Thursday.

Friday, Sheriff Atkins confirmed to the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald that the taser was used on Smith at some point while he was restrained in handcuffs.

Atkins would not say how many times the taser was deployed, adding that he would leave that up to State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) agents to determine.

The SBI was called in at Atkins’ request, as is standard procedure whenever there is a custody death.

An autopsy is being conducted to determine the exact cause of death, but Atkins says a full report is not expected back for six to eight weeks.

The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald will continue to have more information as it becomes available.