Man at Spokane Gym Dies After Taser Shocks, Chokehold

By Paige Browning

The Washington State Patrol is investigating the death of a man whose brief rampage at a Spokane gym led to a scuffle with law enforcement. Washington State Patrol Trooper Jeff Sevigney says a Spokane County sheriff’s deputy used a chokehold on William Berger after three stuns with a Taser gun, and an initial chokehold, did not work to contain him.
 
Deputies were called to Oz Fitness on Spokane’s South Hill for reports that a man was acting disorderly, apparently throwing weights and yelling. Sevigney says deputies met him in the street around 6:00 p.m.

Sevigney: “This situation was somewhat unique because of its location and time of day, so we have a tremendous amount of folks who witnessed some or all of the incident.”
 
Sevigney says during the fight Berger got ahold of a taser gun and tried to attack deputies.  A deputy then restrained Berger in a lateral vascular neck restraint and Berger stopped breathing.  Sevigney says usually the unpleasant experience of a taser shock gets people compliant after one stun.
 
Medical personnel already at the scene revived 34-year-old Berger, but he died last Friday morning at a hospital.  The deputies received several cuts and bruises.

Both the state patrol and the Spokane Investigative Regional Response Team are investigating.
 
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