Ex-cop sentenced to life in prison after tazing handcuffed man to death

Convicted of murdering Towns, aggravated assault charges, and violating his oath of office, Eberhart was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday.

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A former Georgia police sergeant was sentenced to life in prison this week for the convicted murder of an unarmed man in handcuffs who was shocked at least 14 times with a Taser. Despite the fact that the handcuffed man was not fighting back, the ex-cop claimed that he ordered another officer to continue tazing the dying man because he was not moving fast enough.

In April 2014, East Point Police Sgt. Marcus Eberhart and Cpl. Howard Weems responded to a domestic disturbance call when they encountered Gregory Towns, 24, fleeing from the residence. After stumbling and stopping to catch his breath, Towns was apprehended with his hands cuffed behind his back.

According to their incident reports, Sgt. Eberhart and Cpl. Weems only used their Tasers five times in order to keep Towns moving because he had refused to walk towards their patrol car. In his police report, Eberhart admitted to drive-stunning Towns after the handcuffed suspect fell into a creek bed.

But according to court documents, Eberhart and Weems used their Tasers at least 14 times over the course of 30 minutes. Arriving moments later, paramedics discovered that Towns did not have a pulse and pronounced him dead at the scene.

An autopsy later determined that Towns had died from hypertensive cardiovascular disease exacerbated by physical exertion and conducted electrical stimulation. Towns had reportedly begged the officers at least 10 times to allow him to catch his breath as they tazed him to death.

In late 2014, the City of East Point agreed to pay Town’s family $1 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit. Indicted on murder and several other criminal charges in August 2015, Eberhart ended up resigning while Weems was fired from the department.

Convicted of murdering Towns, aggravated assault charges, and violating his oath of office, Eberhart was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday. Acquitted of felony murder and aggravated assault, Weems received a five-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter, reckless conduct, and violation of an oath by a public officer.

“I’m sorry that this incident happened,” Weems stated in court prior to his sentencing. “I’m sorry for the Towns family. I’m sorry there is nothing I’ll ever be able to say that will allow them to have forgiveness for me or that would change their mind and their belief.”

Towns’ girlfriend, Aisel Smith, regrets calling the police that day and recently told WSB-TV, “Moving forward, I will no longer put my faith in police officers, the courts, anything like that.”

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