A Belleville man who was Tasered during a drug bust at his mother’s Superior Township home Friday died less than two hours later at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, family members said.
Pearlie Jackson says she was in a hospital waiting room, desperate for information about her 31-year-old son, Stanley Jackson Jr., when a doctor gave her the news.
He told her Stanley was “fussing and trying to get off the stretcher” in the emergency room, and his heart stopped “when they gave him medication to relax him,” she said.
“You’re telling me my son is gone!” she recalls screaming as she collapsed.
It’s unclear what caused the death of Stanley Jackson Jr., a former high school running back with no known medical problems. An autopsy was planned for this afternoon, and Michigan State Police detectives were investigating.
Jackson leaves behind numerous family members, including four children, ages 3 months to 12 years, his mother said. Doctors spent 40 minutes trying to revive him, she said.
A witness said he saw Stanley run inside his mother’s Heather Drive home after two Washtenaw County sheriff’s deputies and an undercover officer converged on the area about 4:45 p.m. Friday.
What happened inside the house is unclear, but Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton said he has no indication excessive force was used.
Several deputies were placed on paid administrative leave as state police investigate the incident and the sheriff’s department conducts an internal investigation, Clayton said.
The Washtenaw County Medical Examiner’s Office didn’t return a phone call seeking comment.
The incident began after officers with the Livingston and Washtenaw Narcotics Enforcement Team requested assistance from deputies, sheriff’s department spokesman Derrick Jackson said.
Clayton said Stanley Jackson resisted as he was being taken into custody.
“The deployment of the Taser was a direct response to the behavior of the subject,” Clayton said.
Clayton would not say whether Jackson was shot with probes or “drive-stunned” directly against his skin with the Taser and would not discuss whether any other force was used. He also declined to say whether arrest warrants or search warrants had been obtained and did not provide details of the arrest.
Clayton is urging people to withhold judgment until state police complete their investigation. Investigators will release details as soon as they can, he said.
“We’re committed to openness and making sure all the facts are known,” Clayton said.
Officials with LAWNET could not be reached for comment today, and Michigan State Police did not release any additional details.
State Department of Corrections records show Jackson has a criminal record dating back to 2001, including a conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was on probation for a drug conviction when the bust occurred, records show.
Nico Peterson, 20, said he was outside Friday when he saw Jackson and another man standing by a car in front of Jackson’s mother’s house.
Two marked sheriff’s department patrol cars came from the west and parked in front of the home, he said. A man with a thick beard wearing a yellow T-shirt ran onto the property from the east with a handgun drawn, yelling at the man who was with Jackson, Peterson said.
“I’m with the state police! This is a drug raid! We’ll shoot you if necessary!” Peterson recalled the undercover officer saying.
One deputy had drawn what appeared to be a handgun as he chased Jackson through the garage and into the house, Peterson said, and the other deputy ran around the back.
When Jackson was brought out on a stretcher, someone he knows asked him a question, but he didn’t respond, Peterson said.
“I feel kind of hurt that I have to sit here and watch that from my own porch,” Peterson said.
Peterson said he didn’t see anyone get arrested.
Pearlie Jackson said when she received a call from someone she knows telling her to come home from work at 4:45 p.m. Friday, her son was already at the hospital.
When she got home, she spoke with a plainclothes LAWNET officer in her garage, who showed her a bag of marijuana, some rocks of crack cocaine and some cash, she said.
She said the officer told her her son was not under arrest, but officers would have to apply for a warrant through the prosecutor’s office. Her son didn’t live at the home, but stayed there occasionally, she said.
She knew her son was Tasered, but did not fear he was going to die.
“I would have left immediately if I knew he was going to be in danger,” she said.
She and at least two others said they saw blood spots on the exterior of the oven and floor of her kitchen. She said she worked as a nurse for more than three decades and “it was absolutely blood. I know blood.” It’s unclear where the blood came from.
Clayton declined to comment on the blood spots.
Anthony Johnson of Ypsilanti, who is Pearlie Jackson’s boyfriend, said he is concerned about the possibility that excessive force was used.
“Tasers don’t draw blood,” he said. “When we came in here, there was blood like it was a scuffle.”
Felicia Smith, 46, of Ypsilanti, who is Stanley Jackson’s cousin, said family members were talking about him around the kitchen table early this morning when several deputies showed up carrying assault rifles.
They told her they received a call about disturbing the peace, she said.
“It was horrible,” she said. “It added to the pressure.”
Sheriff Clayton confirmed deputies responded to a 911 call early this morning at the home, but declined to be more specific or say whether deputies were carrying assault rifles.
Stanley Jackson Jr. is a graduate of Robichaud High School in Dearborn Heights, where he played football, family members said.
He enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, weightlifting and taking his children to the park, relatives said. He was a member of Metropolitan Memorial Full Gospel Baptist Church in Ypsilanti, family members said.
Funeral arrangements have not been set.
Clayton, who canceled a family trip today to respond to the situation, reached out to Jackson’s family members to explain how the investigative process works. They had not taken him up on his offer by this afternoon.
“I wanted to talk to the mother,” he said. “I think it’s important people know we value human life.”
Clayton said deputies have made progress working with community members to fight crime in the MacArthur Boulevard neighborhood and have sponsored youth sports programs. He hopes the incident is not a setback and is thinking about holding a community forum in the township to discuss residents’ concerns.
“Even if some in the community don’t engage us, we’re going to stay engaged,” he said.
Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached by phone at (734) 623-2527 and email at firstname.lastname@example.org.