Man hit with Taser dies at hospital

May 18, 2009 6:46:14 PM PDT
Family members are left with a lot of questions about the death of their loved one while in police custody. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Police say Jamal Valentine was in a fight with officers in a ditch on Main Street in La Marque last night. He was hit with a Taser and died shortly afterwards.

We tried to talk to the police chief there this morning, but he won't comment. The district attorney's office has now taken over this investigation and the burden of answering a grieving family's questions.

Troy Terrell wants to know how an encounter with police ended with his stepson's death.

"I just want to know what happened," said Terrell. "That's all, just want to know what happened."

Terrell says someone called his family overnight to warn them the 27-year-old Valentine was in a fight with police in the roadside ditch. But that's all he heard until his wife turned on the morning news.

"She said, 'I think that's our son, Troy'," said Terrell.

Overnight La Marque police confirmed they had shocked Valentine with a Taser. Officers told us they found him rolling around in a ditch, under the influence of alcohol or drugs. But when they tried to arrest him, officers say he put up a struggle.

"That could be," said Joe Spiller, Valentine's grandfather. "He struggled, but they didn't have to kill him. That's for sure."

Valentine's family says doctors at the Mainland Medical Center in Texas City told them they tried to revive him, but failed. Relatives tell us Valentine had two children, a boy and a girl, both under the age of three. Those relatives say he struggled with his life, but lost his chance at a promising future.

"Good boy," said Spiller. "He was a good kid."

The officers involved in this incident have been taken off the street until an investigation is complete. The DA's office has not returned our calls, but we will let you if we hear of any new developments.

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