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Marshall man dies after police tasing

By Naomi Prioleau
Jan. 5, 2013 at 10 p.m.

Marcus Dewayne Slade of Marshall died Friday night after he was arrested and tased by Marshall police officers.

Officers were called to the area of East Houston Street and Scoggins Street in reference to a disturbance when they were confronted by Slade. A struggle ensued and he was then tased and arrested for disorderly conduct, assault on a peace officer and resisting arrest.

Slade was taken to the Harrison County Jail when, at 8:52 p.m., an ambulance was called after he was unresponsive.

Slade was pronounced dead at 9:40 p.m. and his body has been taken to the Forensic Medical Center in Tyler where the Texas Rangers are investigating his death.

Department of Public Safety Trooper Jean Dark said it is customary for Texas Rangers to take over in a situation like this.

"It's a custodial death because it happened at Harrison County Jail so the Texas Rangers are handling it," Ms. Dark said.

An autopsy was ordered by Judge Kenneth Alford the Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace to determine the cause of death.

"We need an autopsy to find out the exact cause of his death," Alford said. "The results won't be back until four or five weeks."

Slade was set to celebrate his birthday Monday, Jan. 7. He would have been 33.

Slade had a criminal record in Marshall. In March of 2012, he was arrested for making a terroristic threat. In July of 2010, he had a county jail warrant for driving while intoxicated and parole violation and in May of 2010 he was arrested for driving while intoxicated.

Slade's older brother, Charles, described him as a smart and healthy person.

"He was very caring," he said. "He had kids, he loved his kids. He was very intelligent."

Charles came in from Dallas after learning about the death of his brother. According to him, he said when Slade was put in the patrol car that he was fine. Though the autopsy hasn't been completed yet, he said Slade didn't have any pre-existing conditions.

"He was pretty healthy," he said.

Demetria McFarland, founder of Marshall Against Violence, said it didn't make sense for a young man with a strong heart to die after being tased.

Ms. McFarland said that Slade's death is tragic, but it's important to get to the bottom of what really happened on Friday night before any accusations or judgments can be made.

"My condolences and prayers go out to family but we can't be so quick to point our finger at the Marshall Police Department or the Harrison County Sheriff's Office," Ms. McFarland said. "We need to get to the root of what happened."



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