A 61-year-old man with schizophrenia, Freddie Walker, tragically died after being tased multiple times by deputies in Burke County. The incident has raised concerns about the handling of the situation by law enforcement and emergency medical services (EMS) workers. Walker’s family has expressed their dissatisfaction with the deputies’ actions, while Sheriff Alfonzo Williams has provided a statement on video. The circumstances surrounding Walker’s death are currently under investigation.
Deputies from the Burke County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call at Walker’s residence on Bailey Rd. shortly after midnight on Friday. Upon arrival, they discovered that Walker was already being taken to the hospital for an evaluation. Walker’s family revealed that he suffered from schizophrenia, a mental health condition that may have contributed to his behavior during the incident. According to Arthur Palmer, Walker’s brother-in-law, Walker became agitated when paramedics attempted to place a blood pressure cuff on his arm.
The situation escalated when Walker became combative, jumping out of the vehicle twice and threatening to strike the deputies. In response, one of the deputies deployed a Taser to subdue him. However, Walker’s family strongly believes that using a Taser on a mentally ill individual was inappropriate. Palmer emphasized that the deputies failed to gather information about Walker’s condition or engage in dialogue upon their arrival at the scene.
Despite being tased, Walker managed to get up multiple times after being instructed to stay down. The deputies tased him again, and he subsequently became unresponsive. Walker’s family claims that there were four or five deputies present during the incident. Palmer expressed his belief that the situation could have been handled differently, citing examples of law enforcement effectively subduing dangerous animals without causing harm.
Walker was rushed to the hospital but was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. The names of the deputies that were involved have not yet been released, pending the completion of an investigation by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. Walker’s family is calling for justice and believes that the officers involved require better training to handle similar situations in the future.
Sheriff Alfonzo Williams released a video statement addressing the incident, describing it as unfortunate. He stated that there is currently no reason to believe that the officers violated any laws or policies, nor did they misuse the Taser. However, an autopsy will be conducted so that authorities can determine the cause of Walker’s death. The sheriff also mentioned that in cases where individuals die after being tased, underlying health conditions often play a role.