Bernice Smith Obituary Death -An individual has been identified as the man who passed away on Wednesday as a result of being blasted with a Taser by Lexington County deputies. Bernice Junior Smith, III, 32, from Aiken “became unresponsive” after being brought into custody, according to the Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher, and he was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at a nearby hospital.
It is not known if Smith passed away at the scene of the accident or at the hospital. Fisher stated that an autopsy would be performed on the victim on Friday at the Medical University of Charleston. According to Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon, a deputy approached Smith on Wednesday afternoon at a Walmart in Red Bank, and while questioning him, the deputy discovered that Smith had an active warrant for theft. Smith managed to elude the deputy and get away.
“Deputies ran after him, and eventually used a Taser to subdue him after he was located and proved to be uncooperative with verbal commands,” Koon said. According to the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department (LCSD), when Smith began to show signs of discomfort, deputies removed the handcuffs from his wrists and gave aid to him until paramedics arrived to transport him to the hospital.
According to LCSD, three deputies have voluntarily taken paid administrative leave in compliance with the policies of the department.
The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department has requested that an investigation be conducted by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).The LCSD has declined to give WIS its incident report, citing the investigation being conducted by SLED. According to a representative for SLED, the department does not currently have possession of the report but has promised to deliver it to WIS once they do. WIS informed LCSD of SLED’s intention to make the report public, requested it once again, and then issued a Freedom of Information Act request for the report in addition to additional data. The policy on the use of force within the LCSD was provided to WIS by the department’s spokesperson, Adam Myrick. The only obligation pertaining to documentation that discusses Tasers can be found in the policy. The electronic control devices are included in the list of intermediate weapons.