For the first time since taser weapons were issued in May to officers with the Thomson Police Department, one of them has been used in the line of duty.
The weapon, which deploys electrical probes when fired, was used three different times on a 20-year-old Thomson man by police Sgt. Jared Land. He used it twice on the suspect, while Deputy Marc Coy used the same gun once against the same man.
The suspect, identified by Sgt. Land as Clifford Mathis, was not injured.
Mr. Mathis, who was a passenger in a 2004 Ford Escape, being driven by Timothy James Murphy of Norwood, was thrown out of the vehicle when it jumped a curb at a residence on Ellington Avenue, shortly after 7 p.m. last Saturday.
Sgt. Land said he had initially tried to stop the vehicle near the intersection of Gordon Street and Ellington Avenue after the driver pulled out in front of another vehicle. Mr. Murphy, who cooperated with police, was charged with failure to yield right of way, reckless driving, driving under the influence and making an improper turn.
After being ejected from the vehicle, Mr. Mathis ran from the police officer.
"He ran around a house, towards Adams Avenue with me giving chase," Sgt. Land told The McDuffie Mirror. "I gave him several verbal warnings to stop running or else I would deploy my K-9 partner, Kubo."
It was at that time that Mr. Mathis complied. But as Sgt. Land was about to place handcuffs on the suspect, he attempted to run again. After being caught and taken to the ground, a scuffle ensued between the police officer and the suspect, as he once again attempted to get up and flee.
That's when the first and second rounds were fired from the taser.
Deputy Coy later arrived on the scene to provide backup. When Sgt. Land went to his patrol car to get an evidence bag, he let Deputy Coy hold his taser and stand guard over the suspect.
During that time, Mr. Mathis, according to Sgt. Land, attempted to get up and run again. He was shot a third time with the taser by Deputy Coy, the officer said.
Mr. Mathis, who was charged with two misdemeanor counts of obstruction on a law enforcement officer, later attempted to break out the rear window of Deputy Coy's patrol car.
Both Mr. Mathis and Mr. Murphy were taken to the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center in Thomson.