A former soldier who served in Iraq and Afghanistan has died after being tasered by police in Llanelli, South Wales.
The victim, 43-year-old Spencer Beynon who was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder was tasered on Tuesday evening and died shortly after.
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Police officers were called by a member of the public who was “concerned” about the welfare and behavior of Beynon who appeared injured and was acting erratically.
Beynon was a former member of the Royal Welsh Regiment and had served in the Army for 15 years.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has launched an inquiry into the incident.
A spokesman for the IPCC confirmed that “investigators have been deployed to an incident in Llanelli in which a man has died following contact with police.
The spokesman added: “Dyfed-Powys police officers were called out by a member of the public who was concerned about the behavior and welfare of a man who appeared to be injured.
“Officers attended and during engagement with the man it is understood a Taser was discharged. The man became unresponsive and was subsequently pronounced dead. The IPCC has begun an independent investigation.”
Eyewitnesses reported seeing Beynon acting strangely before police arrived on the scene.
Halder Monteiro, a neighbor, said: “I was in the house and I could hear lots of shouting and at first I just thought it was kids messing around.
“I then went out to see what was going on and I could see a guy in the street who looked totally out of it. He didn’t seem himself – as if he wasn’t there. He just had this look in his eyes. You could tell he wasn’t acting rationally.
“He then started hitting his head against a window several times and looked to be holding a dog in his arms.
“After police used the Taser he fell to the floor and the dog he was carrying was crawling on its back legs. It looked injured.”
Local councilor Robert Davies described Beynon as “a nice guy” who “always had time to say hello, very pleasant.”
“I think he found it hard coming out of the Army. So many of our soldiers who serve their country are forgotten about.”
Nia Griffith, Labour MP for Llanelli, and Lee Waters, Labour Welsh Assembly member for Llanelli, said in a joint statement: “We are both extremely concerned about reports of the police Taser shooting incident in Llanelli, and would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the man who died.”
We need the IPCC to do a thorough investigation as to exactly how and why this happened, and we will be pursuing the matter vigorously with the relevant authorities.”
According to government statistics, police in England and Wales used Tasers more than 10,000 times in 2014 – a 2 percent increase over the previous year. From 2013 to 2014, Taser use rose by 3 percent.
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