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Coroner: Taser Had Nothing To Do With Former Police Chief’s Death

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Sarah-Arbogast-Web Sarah Arbogast
Sarah Arbogast joined the KDKA team as a Traffic Reporter in November...
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WASHINGTON, Pa. (KDKA) – The Washington County coroner has determined that a Taser played no role in the death of a former police chief in Rankin last year.

Washington County Coroner, Tim Warco, has determined that Darryll Briston died of natural causes, related to heart disease. He said a Taser had nothing to do with the death.

“I have no objective, scientific medical data to indicate that the application of the stun gun for a few seconds could have contributed to his demise,” Warco said.

Warco said 49-year-old Briston had significant blockages in his coronary arteries and that is what killed him.

On Dec. 15, 2012, Briston, the former Rankin police chief, was at the Meadows Racetrack and Casino in North Strabane Township.

Around 11:30 p.m., he ran into his estranged wife with another man. Briston approached the man and punched him in the face.

Security at the casino witnessed the violence and called police.

Briston took off running, but police caught up with him less than half of a mile away.

When he refused to be restrained, police warned they would use a Taser on him.

Briston didn’t comply and was Tased for two seconds in the upper-right leg.

He was placed into handcuffs and into the back of a cruiser.

A short time later, Briston started complaining about the handcuffs being too tight and shortness of breath.

An ambulance was called and Briston went into cardiac arrest. He was later pronounced dead at Canonsburg General Hospital.

“Essentially, what happened is you had a man with a preexisting heart condition that voluntarily engaged in strenuous, physical activity, consisting of assaulting another individual and then fled the scene, running and walking approximately a quarter-mile,” Washington County District Attorney Gene Vittone said.

Vittone said police acted appropriately in the situation and no criminal charges will be filed against any of the officers involved.

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