N.C. probes death of bicyclist tased by police

Roger Anthony died Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011, a day after a Scotland Neck, N.C. police officer used a stun gun on him while he was riding a bicycle. WRAL

SCOTLAND NECK, N.C. - Authorities are investigating the death of a 61-year-old Halifax County man who was shocked by a police taser while sitting on a bicycle.

Roger Anthony died Tuesday, a day after a Scotland Neck police officer used a stun gun on him.

The state Office of the Medical Examiner hasn't yet determined a cause of death.

CBS Affiliate WRAL reports officers had responded to a 911 call Monday night about a man who had fallen off his bicycle in the parking lot of a bank. The caller told dispatchers that the man appeared drunk and may have hurt himself.

When Police Officer John Turner arrived, he saw Roger Anthony pedaling along 10th Street and followed in his patrol car. Turner put on his sirens and lights and yelled for him to stop, but Anthony continued to ride away, police said.

Scotland Neck Police Chief Joe Williams said Turner saw Anthony take something out his pocket and put it into his mouth. Turner got out of the car and yelled for Anthony to stop. When Anthony didn't, the officer used a stun gun on him, causing him to fall off of his bike.

Anthony was transported to Pitt County Memorial Hospital, where he was declared brain dead, his sister Gladys Freeman said.

He was taken off of life support on Tuesday.

Freeman said her brother suffered from seizures and had trouble hearing.

The family is considering whether to file a lawsuit against the town.

Scotland Neck Mayor James Mills said Wednesday that he wouldn't blame the family for suing.

"There has been no information that this man was a threat to anybody," he said. "If I was a family member, I'm sure I'd be thinking the same way."

Mills said he has tried to get information from the police department about what happened to Anthony, but they have turned him away.

Police Chief Williams said the officer is on administrative leave while the State Bureau of Investigation conducts its probe. He declined to comment further.

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