The parents maintain that the deputies were never in danger and that their son was not armed.
Chase Sherman, 32, his fiancée, and his parents, Kevin and Mary Ann Sherman, were returning from a vacation. During a layover at the Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta, Sherman started having hallucinations and acting agitated. According to his father, he “got nervous … about planes crashing, and he just didn’t feel comfortable on a plane…. He thought nobody recognized him. I said, ‘Chase, we’re fine. We’re going to get a car and drive home.’ He didn’t know where he was at.”
They rented a car to drive the rest of the way to their home in Florida.
Sherman’s fiancée told his parents that he may have smoked “spice”—also known as “synthetic marijuana”—before they left on the five-day trip, which may have been the cause of the episode. Sherman’s father described what happened next: “We got him in the car and we took off on I-85. Chase’s fiancée was driving and Chase was lying in the back with me. He had his head on my lap. He acted like he didn’t know where we were going. And then he jumped up and started a disturbance in the car.”
They pulled over, and Chase’s mother dialed 911, but her husband told her to hang up, thinking things were under control. After driving for a few more minutes, Sherman became “more violent.” They pulled over again and his mother again called 911.
“We were fighting, screaming, trying to calm him down. It was pretty horrendous in the car,” his father said. “His fiancée jumped back to try to calm him down and she actually got bit!.My wife told me just to hit him or something to try to get her arm loose. He let loose of the arm and the officers showed up.”
When the three deputies arrived, “they reached across me trying to get the handcuffs on him. I got out of the car and they told me to go back by the ambulance.”
Sherman’s mother says she heard one deputy tell her son, “We’re going to shoot you.” She said, “Don’t shoot him, don’t shoot him,” his father added. The deputy reportedly responded, “I have to protect myself.”
Deputies then instructed everyone else to exit the vehicle. During the ensuing struggle, Sherman was repeatedly tased. “More officers kept coming and we think they kept tasing him,” his father said.
During the struggle, the police kept EMTs back since the situation was not safe. Despite Sherman’s violent actions, his parents claim that the deputies were never in danger, their son was not armed, and that if the deputies felt threatened they could have just stepped away and closed the vehicle doors. Instead, the father says, the officers “just went nuts.”
“He was seatbelted in; he couldn’t get out. And they couldn’t just let him be and let him calm down,” the father said.
Eventually, Sherman’s fiancée and parents watched as deputies grabbed his arms and pulled him from the vehicle. The deputies kept the parents and fiancée in a patrol car to be interviewed before allowing them to go to the hospital where Sherman was taken. When they finally arrived at the hospital, they were led to a room by a security guard who said, “I’m sorry for your loss,” according to Sherman’s father.
The incident is being investigated.
While we may not yet have the footage of this killing, this is one more case of an unarmed man ending up dead, with cops saying they feared for their safety. If only they showed a similar concern for the safety of those who don’t wear badges and uniforms, maybe fewer innocent citizens would end up dead at the hands of killer cops.
This is the second such case in a short timeframe. Multiple videos were released in November of Linwood “Ray” Lambert, 46, who was killed by tasers. In a just a few minutes, three cops hit Lambert with their tasers a total of 20 times, according to the device reports issued by Taser International.
For a total of 87 seconds, Lambert had 50,000 volts running through his body, a level capable of inflicting serious injury or death, according to federal guidelines.
As with Chase Sherman, one hour after the police showed up, Lambert was pronounced dead.