Monday, July 19, 2010
The autopsy of a man who died after being Tasered by U.S. federal agents at the San Ysidro border crossing last May shows that many factors contributed to his death.
The coroner has ruled Hernandez's death a homicide.
Law enforcement authorities say that means left to his own devices, he wouldn't have died.
The autopsy says Hernandez had methamphetamine in his system; that agents hit him in the stomach with a baton; and Tasered him three or four times.
Hernandez had a heart attack, was brain dead and died days later.
David Deitch is a drug abuse treatment expert in San Diego. He questions whether Hernandez was under the acute influence of a high dose of meth. "He would have been behaving psychotically, then, while he was in custody," Deitch said.
Border Patrol agents held Hernandez in custody for hours before they tried to send him back to Mexico. Agents caught Hernandez and his brother crossing the border illegally.
Toxicology experts say people who go into excited delirium on meth usually do so shortly after the drug enters their system. They become incoherent and often act out.
Hernandez can be heard in an eyewitness recording pleading with agents to leave him alone.
The case is now in the U.S. Attorney's hands.