LA Murder Suspect Dead After Being Tased During Stand-off

To Live and Die in LA:

Stephen Clancy Hill, an actor in adult films, is dead. A suspect in a co-worker's murder, Hill stood on the top of a cliff for 8 hours, threatening to kill himself. He sat down for a few minutes to drink some water, stood back up, and again threatened to kill himself.

What did the Swat team do? It fired a taser at Hill, who collapsed, and either jumped or fell off the cliff, and died.

I'm sure they were tired of waiting for Hill to make a decision, but that's part of their job. [More...]

The LAPD version is he had been standing all day threatening to kill himself. They were afraid he'd get dehydrated. They tossed him some water. He sat down to drink it. Then he stood up and again threatened to fall on the sword or jump off the cliff and kill himself.

The cops say they tasered him to stop him from killing himself. Some news articles say after being tasered, he collapsed and fell off the cliff. Others say he jumped. In the video, it looked to me like he jumped.

An investigation will be conducted. The tasering was uncalled for, in my opinion. After 8 hours, he probably wasn't going anywhere, they should have continued to try and peacefully coax him off the cliff.

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  • Display: Sort:
    I can't bear to watch the video. (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sun Jun 06, 2010 at 03:50:13 AM EST
    Your account is eloquent and harrowing. I agree fully with your conclusion. Better to wait as long as it took for the man to make his own decision -- if anything, the tasing spurred him to complete the act.

    No. It's important to watch it. (none / 0) (#8)
    by robotalk on Sun Jun 06, 2010 at 10:52:38 AM EST
    They made the decision for him.  They forced him to jump.

    That is absolutely one of the most egregiously reckless acts by police I have ever seen.  Outrageous.


    "forced him to jump" (none / 0) (#15)
    by diogenes on Sun Jun 06, 2010 at 02:53:49 PM EST
    Actually, if he really were suicidal and deliberately jumped, then it would have made some sense to taser him to render him immobile and try to pull him back.  
    On the other hand, if he accidentally fell after being tasered, that is a problem.
    In the grand scheme of things, wasn't he looking at life in prison, especially if he knew that he was guilty?  

    These (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by kdog on Sun Jun 06, 2010 at 08:31:24 AM EST
    blasted tasers were sold to us as a non-lethal alternative to firearms, lifesavers even.  As we can see in case after case they are a tool of lazy law enforcement, or sadistic law enforcement...not strictly as an alternative to firearms.

    But I guess they're hear to stay...the cops ain't giving up their new toy.  We been had.

    technically, (none / 0) (#4)
    by cpinva on Sun Jun 06, 2010 at 09:59:14 AM EST
    the taser wasn't the actual cause of death, it was the jumping/falling over the cliff and landing. yes, i know, it might not have happened, absent the use of said taser, but that's how it will be portrayed by both the LAPD and taser int.

    obviously this guy had "issues", and seemed pretty bent on suicide, at least at that moment. the police needn't have negligently helped.

    when the taser hit him.

    The taser no more affected his journey than a bug splatting on your windshield affects your journey.

    Not only that but at what point do you decide what LE actions are OK in this situation? How do you decide what of their actions did contribute to the suicide?

    That the cops were there at all obviously contribute to his decision to jump...

    The cop had no reason to think that tasing him (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Joan in VA on Sun Jun 06, 2010 at 10:56:09 AM EST
    would help the situation. He had to know that it would make his body jerk and fall when it hit and that he was in a precarious situation as it was.  So he erred in using it at all regardless of when it hit. That it didn't "affect his journey" only means that the cop got lucky.

    Goes back to my initial question, (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sun Jun 06, 2010 at 11:42:49 AM EST
    he wouldn't been on the cliff at all if the cops hadn't tried to apprehend him.

    All the headlines I saw last night (none / 0) (#6)
    by oculus on Sun Jun 06, 2010 at 10:12:47 AM EST
    said he jumped.  I'm not watching the video.  

    The vid is not goulish at all. (none / 0) (#7)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sun Jun 06, 2010 at 10:31:42 AM EST
    All you see is a close-up of a guy pushing himself off the top of a pile of dirt. As he's quickly shoving himself off the top you hear the taser being fired and the guy quickly looks back toward the sound just before he slides down the dirt out of frame.

    It was pretty clear he did doing exactly what he wanted and planned to do - shove himself off the edge.


    Wanted to do after being (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by jondee on Sun Jun 06, 2010 at 11:43:57 AM EST
    being tasered by those screaming guys dressed up like imperial storm troopers and pointing weapons at him. Which, to anyone with any inkling of a clue about how to deal with someone teetering on the edge, (figuratively or literally), is precisely the diametric opposite approach that it's recommended to take when dealing with a person in that state of mind.

    My guess is that the cops were hot, tired and disgusted after 8 hrs and went into "lets get this thing over with" mode.



    Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by squeaky on Sun Jun 06, 2010 at 11:46:07 AM EST
    My guess is that the cops were hot, tired and disgusted after 8 hrs and went into "lets get this thing over with" mode.

    And there is no liability for tasing.  


    I believe he is taserd, turns back (none / 0) (#10)
    by robotalk on Sun Jun 06, 2010 at 10:56:34 AM EST
    to look at the cops, is tasered again and then pushes himself off the cliff.

    What purpose was tasering going to have in that situation?  Wasn't it likely that even if he just collapsed he would fall from the cliff.  In essence, they forced him to jump.

    This is majorly wrong.


    I don't know, (none / 0) (#11)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sun Jun 06, 2010 at 11:39:31 AM EST
    there is more/better vid on Youtube. You may be right, he may have been tased twice, hard to tell for sure.

    Looks to me he was pushing himself really close to the edge and one (maybe both?) of the two cops with the pistol-shaped tasers in the right side of the frame tased him in the upper right part of his back.

    Instead of him collapsing (like I thought tased people are supposed to do?) he stays upright in the sitting position, looks back toward the cops and reaches up to/over his right shoulder/back area with his left hand.

    Then he quickly makes another shove toward the edge, and a bang goes off. The bang looked like it was from the cop with the rifle-shaped weapon, maybe it's a bean bag gun?

    Anyway, the guy looks back again, and then makes another very determined and strong shove, this time over the edge.

    I thought tasers were designed to immediately incapacitate you?

    If that is what they're designed to do, I can see why the cops tased him.

    If he had collapsed immediately when he got hit as I described above, imo, he was far enough back from the edge to where he would not have gone over the edge and the cops certainly would have been able to grab him. The cops were only a step or two away the whole time.

    The guys seemed to be completely un-affectd by the taser(s).

    All that said, and I am certainly no expert on this stuff, but in my (anonymous internet bloviator) opinion, the fall did not look like it should have been fatal...


    It's clear (none / 0) (#18)
    by Patrick on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 01:04:20 AM EST
    from the video that one of the probes from the inital Taser engagement missed.   That is the wire you see running off the hill.   Without both probes in contact, the taser is completely ineffective.   There is a second Taser application, which also seems to miss, because yes, when properly utilized, the Taser makes it impossible to move.   I know, I've been shot with one.  

    Well, I gotta agree with that. (none / 0) (#19)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 11:38:56 AM EST
    You can definately see one wire draping down the cliff and another stuck to his upper right back/shoulder area when he falls.

    That only one probe hit him certainly explains why the taser didn't drop him like a sack of potatoes.


    Found a better video today. (none / 0) (#24)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:20:03 PM EST
    He could well have impaled himself on the sword he was holding when he jumped off the cliff.

    Talk about the Hawaiian (none / 0) (#16)
    by jondee on Sun Jun 06, 2010 at 03:05:11 PM EST
    work ethic. I think I might've called in traumatized
    after that one, Donald. Im sorry you had to experience that. And, needless to say, sorry for what that poor woman had to go through.

    Looked like he jumped and was unaffected by (none / 0) (#17)
    by magster on Sun Jun 06, 2010 at 03:56:19 PM EST
    tasers.  Still, not the crowd of folks I'd expect to be talking someone out of a suicide attempt.

    More/new video (none / 0) (#20)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 05:01:50 PM EST

    Looks to me, quite unlike the outraged opinions of most of the posters here, that after a long stand-off the guy decided to jump, and when he made that decision and moved rapidly and abruptly to the edge of the cliff, the cops closed in and attempted to stop him with taser(s) before he was able pushed himself over the edge.

    iow, they were trying to save the guy's life, for cripe's sake.

    Also, in the vid, you can see a light-colored little something spring back from the guy just before he pushes himself over.

    That, I expect, is one of the two taser probes that a taser fires simultaneously that bounced back instead of lodging in flesh of the guy's back, thus making the taser completely ineffective.

    Tasing someone on the side of a hill? (none / 0) (#21)
    by Watermark on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 11:24:26 PM EST

    The LAPD has learned their lesson (none / 0) (#22)
    by mcl on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 10:29:35 AM EST
    Next time they encounter someone threatening to commit suicide, they'll deploy snipers and shoot him in the head. Tasering isn't 100% guaranteed, but a head shot -- definitely going to prevent him from killing himself.

    wait ... (none / 0) (#23)
    by nyrias on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:28:48 PM EST
    this guy killed a person, wounded many others. I don't think there is any dispute that it is him.

    And it is not clear to me that he wont jump anyway if you wait longer. May be the police saw an opening to grab him and it didn't work.

    Quote from the newspaper article "At least one officer fired a Taser or beanbag gun at Hill as he went over the edge."

    May be the officer is trying to stop him and save his life. Don't u think if someone is running towards the cliff, tasing him may be his last chance?