By Steven Sandberg
EAGLE POINT, Ore. — A man who may have been suffering from a mental health episode dies following a struggle with police. But know the man’s family says those officers mishandled the situation.
Family members say Scott Chappell was suffering from a PTSD episode here at his home Tuesday, that may have led to police officers firing a taser, and a short time later, Chappell was dead. Now people on both sides want to know why it happened.
Carol Kidder says her son Scott Chappell was never the same when he returned from war a few years ago.
“He kept mentioning Afghanistan, and when he’d be going through these episodes, he just said he’d seen death, and he said ‘Mom,’ he said, ‘it was bad,’” says Kidder.
She says on Tuesday, one of those post-traumatic stress episodes lead to his death, after an altercation with police.
“These people aren’t trained to deal with mental health issues with these vets, they’re not,” Kidder states. “They know nothing about it.”
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office says Chappell was behaving erratically Tuesday night, and his family called for help.
He was having, an ‘episode’, I call them; sweating bad, paranoia, scared, and I wanted to take him to the hospital,” Kidder recalls.
When two Eagle Point Police officers tried to get him into an ambulance, investigators say it started a struggle, and one officer fired a stun gun.
“It did not effect Mr. Chappell, in fact he continued to move and act in his erratic behavior,” states Jackson County Sheriff’s Office PIO, Andrea Carlson.
When he was finally put in the ambulance, Chappell died on the way to the hospital. An autopsy is scheduled for Friday as the sheriff’s office investigates.
“It’s hard to pinpoint and say why Mr. Chappell died, what led to that death, until we do that autopsy and get those toxicology results back,” Carlson states.
But Chappell’s family says those Eagle Point officers did not know how to handle the situation.
“She was very aggressive with Scott, it was uncalled for what she said and what she did,” Kidder says.
Family members say Chappell was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and drug problems for years. In November, he was arrested for possession of meth, assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest, but his family says those problems should not have led to his death.
The case is being investigated by the Jackson County Major Assault and Death Investigation Team. The sheriff’s office says an outside agency can be unbiased, and try to find out exactly what happened.