Natasha McKenna died February 8, 2015 after she was shocked by a taser four times by a lieutenant at the Fairfax County, Va., Sheriff’s Department while she was having a psychotic episode in custody on February 3, 2015. A chief prosecutor has announced that no charges will be brought against the deputies involved in McKenna’s death.
According to the NBC 4, McKenna called 911 to report an assault on January 25 and was brought to a hospital for an examination. She was then taken to Fairfax County Jail for assaulting an officer weeks before. Due to her history of mental illness, she was going to be held at the Fairfax County Jail until Alexandria police officers could come pick her up. The Fairfax County Sheriff’s office said they notified Alexandria police repeatedly to pick up McKenna but she was never transferred. She experienced multiple psychotic episodes while being held at Fairfax County Jail. This led to Fairfax authorities making arrangements to deliver McKenna to Alexandria themselves.
The video shows a five-person team, outfitted in bio-hazard suits and equipped with a riot shield, attempting to remove McKenna from her cell.
"You promised me you wouldn't kill me. I didn't do anything," McKenna, who isn't wearing clothes, can be heard saying as she exits her cell in distress.
The officers tell McKenna to stop resisting, although she is clearly experiencing mental distress. They hold the shield over her body and continue to tell her not to move.
"If you keep resisting you will be tased, do you understand?" the deputies tell McKenna as she grasp for breath, crushed under the five deputies.
After struggling for more than 15 minutes, McKenna is placed into a restraining chair and anti-spitting mask is placed over her face.
McKenna is shocked by a taser four times in two-minute span. Ten minutes later she is completely unresponsive, shows no vital signs, and slips into a coma. She died on February 8.
In the report released on Tuesday, Commonwealth's Attorney, Ray Morrogh, reported McKenna, who was approximately 5 feet 3 inches and weighed 130 pounds, exhibited "super human strength" in her struggle with deputies. But the newly released video shows a mentally ill woman being handled by officers who did not know how to handle her illness.
McKenna was 37-years-old when she died and the mother of a 7-year-old girl. McKenna had been diagnosed with schizophrenia when she was only 12-years-old.
"Natasha McKenna did not die in vain, and there will be something good that comes of this tragedy and that is a better system that's going to be set up in terms of how we treat those with mental illness," Fairfax County Sheriff Stacy Kincaid said.
You can read the full report on the death of Natasha McKenna here.