Updated: Friday, 20 Nov 2009, 11:50 AM EST
Published : Tuesday, 17 Nov 2009, 5:42 AM EST
EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - A 30-year-old man who was Tasered multiple times by police died at an East Grand Rapids home Monday night.
Police and an ambulance crew responded at around 9 p.m. to a reported domestic disturbance at 2110 Heather St. SE.
During a news conference Tuesday morning with the chiefs of both East Grand Rapids and Grand Rapids, police said Matthew Bolick was "out of control" during an altercation with his dad and brother. Bolick's father called 911.
"It was described to Kent County Dispatch as 'my son is out of control,'" said East Grand Rapids Chief Mark Herald.
"He was very physically assaultive," Herald said at a news conference, "and the officers responded and used the force of respectively reasonable manner."
East Grand Rapids Department of Public Safety officers arrived and said Bolick's behavior was "not normal."
Neighbors heard the yelling from just a few doors away.
"I heard a lot of loud arguing, a lot of voices and what not," said neighbor Joel Dockett.
A news release from EGR police said Bolick confronted an officer in the street outside the home and hit the officer in the face. That officer then discharged his Taser on Bolick.
Police said Bolick was not affected by the Taser and he then ran into the house. Officers chased him inside and a struggle with Bolick ensued. "Additional Taser deployments" were used on Bolick, according to police.
Bolick was unresponsive inside the home and tended to by rescue personnel. One of his hands was injured after it went through a window during the original altercation with his dad and brother.
Bolick died sometime later on the scene.
"Until we get the medical examiners report, we're not going to speculate one way or another," said East Grand Rapids Chief Herald. "Very comfortable with what I believe that the officers were objectively reasonable in what they did, but we still need to conduct a proper investigation. Let the medical examiner deal with the exact cause of death and then we can inform you of that."
The Grand Rapids Police Department Major Case Team and Internal Affairs Unit were called to the scene and continue to investigate. A warrant was obtained and authorities searched the home. They did not say what was found.
The East Grand Rapids officers involved are on administrative leave due to department policy.
The department received these Tasers at the beginning of the year, and this was the first incident they were used in. The Tasers shoot probes once, and then the guns need to be recharged.
It may be a couple of weeks before the cause of death is known.
Preliminary autopsy results are inconclusive. There were no obvious
internal injuries. And the external injuries - an injured hand and
puncture wounds from the Tasers - were consistent with the
incident. Investigators are waiting for the full report, including
toxicology results, before releasing the cause of death.
One focus is Matthew Bolick's mental condition.
"There was some indication that his behavior pattern had changed significantly over the last couple of weeks and that he'd become more unstable," said GRPD Police Chief Kevin Belk.
24 Hour News 8 checked Bolick's criminal background. It shows he was arrested on April 8, 1999 for a disturbing the peace violation and a traffic offense for consuming alcohol while under the age of 21. He was 20 years old at the time. He was fined $770 and put on probation for nine months.
Tuesday afternoon, the Bolick family released this statement: "We lost our wonderful son, older brother, and friend, Matt Bolick, who died last night. This is a tragic loss and he is being portrayed in a negative light. Please withhold judgment until all the facts are known and remember, Matt was a caring human being who had a zest for life, and whose family is deeply devastated by this confusing loss."
The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Nov. 21 at First Evangelical Free Church, 3950 Burton St. SE in Grand Rapids. Memorial contributions may be made to the National Park Foundation.