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Police Evaluate Natasha McKenna's In-Custody Death for Criminal Violations
By Jackie Bensen
Fairfax County Police are investigating the death of a 37-year-old inmate who was placed on life support and later died after being Tased by deputies. News4's Jackie Bensen reports.
Fairfax County Police are investigating the death of a 37-year-old inmate who was placed on life support and later died after being Tased by deputies.
Natasha McKenna was seen at a Hertz Rental car location on Pickett Street on Jan. 15, where employees said she was being disruptive and acting strangely, police said. She ran from police, who found her in a Home Depot. McKenna ran again, police said.
More police responded and caught McKenna. Police said she resisted their attempts to arrest her, including punching one officer and trying to bite them. Police said they put her in a "hobble restraint device" to restrict her movements and a "spit sock" to prevent biting.
McKenna was hospitalized at INOVA Alexandria Hospital, where she remained until she was arrested Jan. 26 and charged with assaulting a law enforcement officer.
Inmate Dies While In Custody of Fairfax County Police
An inmate was pulled off life support Sunday after she had a medical emergency at the Fairfax County Detention Center. (Published Sunday, Feb 8, 2015)
McKenna was in the process of being transported from the Fairfax County jail to the Alexandria city jail Feb. 3 when deputies say she failed to comply with their commands and resisted them. A deputy then used a Taser multiple times to restrain her.
After being stunned, Elbert said a medic checked on and cleared McKenna, and that she was then moved to another area of the jail, where she began experiencing a medical emergency. Deputies and medical staff began life-saving measures before McKenna was taken to a hospital and put on life support.
Elbert said minutes passed between when McKenna was stunned and her medical emergency but didn't know how many. "It was not an immediate thing,'' he said.
"Based on the family pictures, bruising on the arm, two black eyes, a missing finger ... I mean, this was a violent exchange," advocate for the mentally ill Peter Earley said.
Elbert declined to say how many times the deputy stunned McKenna and where on her body she was hit. He also declined to elaborate about how she resisted the deputies trying to transport her.
Sources told News4 the first officers who responded to the jail for the report of an unconscious inmate were turned away from the jail, and told they were not needed. Those same sources said it wasn't until four or five days later when McKenna died that detectives were able to start their investigation.
The Fairfax County Police Department launched an investigation into her death, and announced Thursday they'll search for any criminal liability that may have been committed during the incident.