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Police: Taser Not To Blame for Man's Death

Police: Taser Not To Blame for Man's Death

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HEBER CITY, Utah (AP) -- The Heber City police chief says the use of a Taser gun on a man shortly before he died in police custody was NOT to blame for the death.

Chief Ed Rhoads said autopsy results conducted on Douglas Meldrum ruled out the stun gun as a possible cause of death. He based his information on what authorities who attended the autopsy Saturday reported to him afterward.

However, Meldrum's family disputes Rhoads' statement, saying the state medical examiner hasn't ruled anything out yet.

And the official agency investigating the death -- the Wasatch County Sheriff's Office -- is NOT saying anything until they get results of a toxicology report.

The 37-year-old Meldrum led Heber City officers on a chase Friday until his pickup got stuck in a fence east of town.

He allegedly fought with officers when they tried to take him into custody, punching one in the face. Officers used both the stun-gun and pepper-spray on him.

Once handcuffed, they rolled him over, and he wasn't breathing.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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