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Pittsburgh Police: Man Who Officers Used Taser On During Arrest Dies After Medical Emergency

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Pittsburgh Police say the man who officers used a stun gun on to take into custody in Bloomfield has died after suffering a medical emergency.

According to police, the theft suspect died Thursday morning at a local hospital.

Additional information on the man will be released by the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office, police say.

Allegheny County Police Department is now in charge of the investigation. The Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board is also looking into the incident.

"The outcome here is tragic," Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board Beth Pittinger said.

Pittsburgh Police say officers used a Taser while arresting the man because he "became non-compliant while being taken into custody." The arrest happened Wednesday morning on Harriett Street.

Police took the man to the hospital, but say he suffered a medical emergency outside.

Neighbors in the area said this all started Wednesday morning when a man, described as disheveled, took a bike that was for sale on a joy ride around the block, returned it, and started smoking a cigarette on someone's porch.

WATCH: KDKA's Jessica Guay Reports

At some point, police were called just after 10 a.m. Witnesses said the man initially listened to the police.

"He wasn't violent or anything, but he wasn't putting his hand behind his back," witness Ryan Cohn told KDKA.

Officers said when the man didn't comply, an officer used a stun gun on him. Witnesses said the man was tased at least three times. At least one witness took a video of the incident and gave it to the review board.

"I think the policeman maybe told him 30 times to get down on the ground and put your hands behind your back. And at one point, the suspect got up and ran and the police officer said, 'I have to tase you,' so he tased him," said one witness who wanted to be anonymous.

"I think we have to be sensitive to the impact of that on the neighbors, the witnesses, and the officers involved," Pittinger said.

The Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board said it wants to know if the standard protocol was followed? Was there proper de-escalation? Was force necessary? Did the officer follow their training?

"That's the kind of thing that we're looking at. There's not one individual thing," Pittinger said.

jim rogers Bloomfield taser
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

The board is also hoping for cooperation from police and neighbors.

"We want to know how and what their impressions of what transpired are and also to reassure them that this is being looked at objectively and impartially," Pittinger told KDKA.

Police have not identified the officer who was involved. That will come at the discretion of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. KDKA has reached out for that information.

"I hope they side on the police officer's side because as far as I know, he did everything by the book," said another witness who wanted to remain anonymous.

Allegheny County Police Department will hand over its findings to the district attorney. The department's investigation is ongoing.

All of the Zone 5 police officers who responded to the call are on paid administrative leave, which is standard policy, according to Pittsburgh Public Safety.

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