Associated Press: South Carolina Coroner Calls Andrew Torres’ Death a Homicide

All the local news picked up on this misleading title and are helping form a virtual lynch mob calling for the heads of the three officers involved. In August Andrew Torres, a mentally ill man with a long history of violence against others, became so violent his family called police. When police arrived a combative Torres threatened them and ran into his bedroom. Police tasered him around the door. He had a heart attack a short time after the struggle to get him under control.

The coroner ruled his death was “homicide” in that the physical confrontation exacerbated a pre-existing condition he had, in this case an enlarged heart. Homicide, as police chief Terri Wilfong points out, is not murder. In this case it is a technical term meaning the actions of another contributed to death, but it does not mean those actions weren’t justified.

Just how does a 39-year-old get an enlarged heart anyway? Drug and alcohol abuse can contribute quite a bit. They can also cause the erratic behavior his family blamed on mental illness.

None of this matters to the Associated Press who rubbed out a headline that led people to believe the coroner was holding the police legally and morally responsible for murder. In a text book case of burying the lead they hide the actual story toward the bottom:

Coroner Parks Evans says the mentally ill man died from an irregular heart beat as the result of having an enlarged heart, the physical strain of fighting with police and being stunned with Tasers.

Meaning the real responsibility for Torres’ death was his violent tendencies and perhaps substance abuse, which is something mentally ill people are particularly vulnerable to. Of course just being an angry person in general can cause an enlarged heart. Either way those are things he’s personally responsible for.

The AP has a anti-cop culture in their newsroom and their releases often mislead the public. This is done to promote an anti-law-and-order political view that is all the rage in J schools these days. There was little AP coverage of the cop who was stabbed in Greenville recently, for example yet they have been on top of this case the whole time.

But three cops who just wanted to make it home to their families faced with a violent perpetrator will suffer the consequences of the witch hunt the AP and all the leftist press that use them as sources are creating.


12 Responses to “Associated Press: South Carolina Coroner Calls Andrew Torres’ Death a Homicide”

  1. Suzanne on September 16th, 2010 11:02 am

    Here is the flaw in your reasoning: Mr. Torres was in the process of being committed to a psychiatric facility due to serious mental illness (schizophrenia). This illness renders one incapable of determining which of their thoughts are real or imagined. They are frequently paranoid, and, yes, violent. This is a matter of brain structure and chemistry, and is not a moral flaw. Mr. Torres simply could not determine reality from what his brain was telling him was reality. That he was incapacitated by this brain disease is not questioned. (The court had determined that he was a danger to himself and others, and needed to be removed from his parent’s home for his own safety and for the safety of others.) The police were simply not trained to deal with Mr. Torres. It is cruel and inhuman to tase a mentally ill person!! This man is not responsible for his actions, and can’t help his own violence. He needed to be tranquilized, not tased. Repeated tasing is dangerous, even without an enlarged heart.
    I hope you will reconsider your position on this subject. A mentally ill person is not a bad person, they are sick. They can’t help being sick. (Have you known any people who became schizophrenic? I have, and the person I knew was kind, peaceful, and loving before the mental illness changed his personality.)

  2. Rob Taylor on September 16th, 2010 3:47 pm

    Whether a mentally ill person is bad or not shouldn’t mitigate a police officers responsibility to protect other civilians in the situation (his family) or their right to defend themselves should it?

    I never said it was a moral failing – that’s a straw man. I said his enlarged heart was not the result of anyone else’s actions and his struggle with the police was still his own actions, rational or not.

    I didn’t see many comments from you when that cop got stabbed in downtown Greenville. You’re idea is that cops should be punching bags/stabbing targets for anyone who is unstable because it’s a politically correct feel good position. If Torress killed one of those cops you wouldn’t even care, and if he killed one of his family members you’d blame the police.

    Torres had a heart attack because he had an anger problem and an enlarged heart. That’s not murder.

  3. Loup Garou on September 17th, 2010 9:26 am

    Bravo Mr. Taylor, Bravo

  4. Loup Garou on September 17th, 2010 9:29 am

    IMHO, this guy is in a better place…. would have lived out his limited years in an institution being neglected by under paid staffers who can’t handle the current influx of “mentally ill” people. let’s not get into who is or isn’t normal.

  5. Linda M Dixon on September 18th, 2010 8:13 am

    This taser misuse needs to stop.That is the point they (the police) does not know someone’s medical issues if any.So when things like this happen yep we will scream!!!!!People have medical problems that they do not know about. Why ,can not afford to go see a doctor.Then Mr.policeman comes with his badge kills someone and it is fine.I THINK NOT!!!! Two boys playing rough one has some type of problem and dies the other is now known as a Murder,but not the police.Nobody said that the cop that was stabbed was in the wrong.How may people have killed cops,and how many cops have killed?Meaning to or not.

  6. Rob Taylor on September 18th, 2010 7:21 pm

    If they peppered sprayed him would it be better? No he still would have died. He died not from the taser but from his enlarged heart, which means that if he and I got in a tussle on the street he still would have died.

    The coroner doesn’t say the taser killed him, but the struggle with the police. That’s on him.

  7. concerned taxpayer on August 19th, 2012 1:05 pm

    2 cops used their tasers multiple times on this occasion.No excuse when they knew his history. Anyone that has been electocuted while have an enlarged heart.No drugs were found in Andrews body has you before claimed..The Greenville county coroner ruled it a HOMICIDE!The taser company clearly states that tasers should not be used on the mentally ill,That is why there is NONE in mental hospitals anywhere.If Torres would have gained control of a taser and tased one of the cops multiple times he WOULD have been charged with murder reguardless of any preexisting health problems the officer had.Why are cops above the law because they where a badge,,,Serve and Protect,not stun gun and shoot…over 700 people have died from tasers in the hand of police officers,not because they were tased once,but over and over….this is excessive force in all cases…stun guns do not kill,the cops holding them do….

  8. Rob Taylor on August 19th, 2012 6:31 pm

    No drugs but a history of violence and cops came because he was THREATENING TO MURDER PEOPLE.

    You think instead of tasering a violent person cops should shoot them in the leg? Seriously?

    But let me ask you this. I’ve been jumped, shot at, robbed at gunpoint, had a crack addict attack me in my own lobby – some of these people were mentally ill I’m sure should I have not defended myself? Should I have let them do whatever they felt like to me?

    Should cops take a knife in the belly to please you?

  9. concerned citizen on August 19th, 2012 7:00 pm

    The cop who allegedly got shot in the leg by a suspect at the red roof inn in Greenville by his own gun lived.This allegedly happened while his gun was still in a hard glock holster.I have seen these holsters,there is no way to fire until pulled out.He is doing fine,I heard.And I am glad.They have a tough job,but they know the risk..Why is everything about you ,everyone has dealt with crime.quit crying..Are you a cop or just another wanna be?

  10. Rob Taylor on August 19th, 2012 8:01 pm

    So you think shooting people in the leg is safer than tasering people? Because someone survived it?

    By the way the hard holsters are death traps – the ones from Blackhawk have to have the shooter’s fingers basically on the trigger to get them out.

    But seriously you’re claiming that driving a 9mm through someones leg is safer than using a stun gun on them?

  11. concerned citizen on August 20th, 2012 8:15 am

    Just so you know,There is article in Greenville News today.The Torres Family has filed a FEDERAL lawsuit against police chief and 6 officers.Put that on your little website.Lets see what an unbiased FEDERAL court has to say about the police officers actions.A family in NC was awarded 10 million dollars in a taser case….Let justice prevail!

  12. Rob Taylor on August 20th, 2012 4:31 pm

    Anyone with a scumbag lawyer can file a lawsuit – it’s a scam designed to shake people down because it’s cheaper to settle than drag out a court case. But sure, from now on let’s endorse cops SHOOTING people rather than tasering them as you suggest. Makes perfect sense.

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