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Man Tasered at South Side police station and hospital dies

Jacqueline Coleman talks her brother Philip Coleman outside family home south Morgan. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times

Jacqueline Coleman talks of her brother Philip Coleman outside the family home on south Morgan. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times

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Updated: January 16, 2013 6:06AM



Philip Coleman had a “breakdown” that caused him to act erratically and prompted his arrest but he “didn’t deserve to die,” his older sister said Friday.

The 38-year-old Coleman, a businessman and University of Chicago graduate, died a day earlier after twice being Tasered by Chicago Police following his arrest for allegedly beating his mother.

“He was not treated justly, he was treated like an insect,” said his older sister, Jacqueline Coleman, Friday outside her parents’ Far South Side home. “This was not right.”

Philip Coleman’s death at Roseland Community Hospital followed a string of unusual events that began Wednesday night when he was arrested by Chicago Police after allegedly attacking his 69-year-old mother at her West Pullman home.

Coleman, who stood about 6-feet 2-inches tall, struggled with officers and spit blood at them while being arrested, police said.

While he was being taken to court Thursday morning, Coleman allegedly again became combative and was shocked with a Taser, police said.

Coleman was taken to Roseland Hospital around 8:30 a.m., where during his treatment he struggled with police ­— who again used a Taser to try to subdue him, Chicago Police said.

Medical workers then gave him a sedative, “which is protocol at Roseland,” hospital president Dian Powell said in a statement.

Coleman was pronounced dead at the hospital at 5:37 p.m., according to the medical examiner’s office.

Following a Friday autopsy, Coleman’s death remained under investigation, according to the medical examiner.

But Coleman’s father, Percy Coleman, vowed that family members are determined to find out why Philip died.

“I can guarantee you, we will get to the bottom of this,” said the elder Coleman, who works as a state parole supervisor.

Philip Coleman, a graduate of Morgan Park High School and the University of Chicago who was involved in running a local restaurant, wasn’t a troublemaker, his relatives said.

Neighbor Dana Robinson, though, said Coleman was acting strangely just before he was arrested — including talking loudly to himself, hurling himself into a barbed wire fence and barging into Robinson’s garage.

Coleman’s behavior was totally out of character, said Robinson, 50.

“I’ve never seen him out of sorts,” said Robinson, who said he talked periodically in the quiet neighborhood with Coleman. “I’ve always seen him laughing, always seen him smiling. Everything was always good with him.”

Robinson said at one point, he started to shut his overhead garage door to keep Coleman out but Coleman dropped to the ground and rolled inside just before the door closed, Robinson said.

Later, Coleman bolted from the garage, then cut his hands trying to climb the wire fence, Robinson said.

Robinson said moments later he watched as Coleman confronted his own father, then struck him in the head with his open hand.

Relatives would say little about why Coleman was behaving strangely.

“He had a breakdown and he was not treated right. He didn’t deserve to die,” said Jacqueline Coleman, declining to comment further.

A spokesman for the Independent Police Review Authority said the agency is in the early stages of an investigation but declined to comment further.

Police consider Tasers a non-lethal option but the devices have generated controversy because some people have died after they were shocked by them. Studies have shown Tasers can cause ventricular fibrillation in pigs’ hearts — and death.

In 2005, the Cook County medical examiner ruled that Ronald Hasse died of electrocution after he was Tasered by a Chicago Police sergeant for 62 seconds. The City Council subsequently agreed to pay his family $550,000 to settle a wrongful-death lawsuit against the city.

In 2010, men in Waukegan, Riverdale and Melrose Park died after police shot them with Tasers, which fire barbs connected by wires to the devices. Police said they suspected two of the men had swallowed drugs and that the third man was drunk.

Contributing: Allison Horton, Michael Lansu, Brian Slodysko andRich Hein



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