Natasha McKenna

“You promised me you wouldn’t kill me,” were some of the last words Natasha McKenna spoke before she lost consciousness after a protracted struggle with sheriff deputies at the Fairfax County jail.

Last February, a group of officers dressed in hazmat suits and gas masks attempted to extract McKenna from her jail cell and transport her to another facility when things took a deadly turn. During the encounter, McKenna, who suffered from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, objected to being forcibly taken down and wouldn’t comply with sheriff deputies orders.

As officers wrestled McKenna to the floor, putting a plastic shield over her body and forcing her face into the ground, they continued to tell the 37-year-old to “stop resisting” even after her hands and feet were handcuffed. The 20-minute encounter was recorded by jail officials and released to the public on Thursday.

Click here to watch the entire troubling video.

During the struggle, officers shot McKenna four times with a Taser, which a state medical examiner initially found contributed to her death. Later, the medical examiner said McKenna died of “excited delirium,” a controversial finding almost exclusively cited in in-custody deaths.

According to officials, “excited delirium” is a condition that occurs in people on drugs or mentally ill whose heart suddenly gives out because they’ve become overly agitated. Many doctors dispute such a condition even exists, particularly because “excited delirium” seems to only occur in police custody deaths.

Tuesday, Fairfax County prosecutor Raymond F. Morrogh announced he would not seek charges against the officers in connection with McKenna’s death. Despite tasing a mentally ill woman four times, contributing to her demise, Morrogh concluded the officers “did their best.”

“The men and women of the SERT team are good people who did their best to get her help under difficult circumstances,” he said. “They used, I think, restraint in dealing with her under the circumstances.”

In Morrogh’s 51-page report on the incident, officers claimed McKenna had “superhuman” strength and acted as if she “didn’t feel any pain.”

“In my 19 years, that was the worst inmate I have ever dealt with,” Deputy Holmes said. “She was the real deal. Seriously, she was the worst.”

Another, Deputy Reeves, said, “Her strength was amazing…I have never encountered anyone like that who wasn’t on PCP before.”

Despite their assertions that McKenna had superhuman strength and was “pushing us up almost like doing a push-up,” the video shows something different. While McKenna does indeed resist being handcuffed, officers were never in danger or even pushed away. In fact, for the majority of the 20-minute confrontation McKenna lies on the ground with officers pushing her face into the floor.

Harvey J. Volzer, an attorney for Mckenna’s family, called Morrogh’s decision not to seek charges “ludicrous.”

“This conclusion is ludicrous,” he said in an email to The Washington Post. “What caused her death was one officer using a taser four times on a completely helpless, mentally-impaired female in violation of rules governing the proper use of a taser, and seven additional officers doing nothing to intervene.”

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  • newt dal

    Kincaid’s report said Natasha McKenna was punched in the thighs 4 times in between tasers. This would be to bring her out of unconsciousness to tase her again. They would holler TASER! and the cheering squad would holler “STOP RESISTING”! The doctors at the hospital also report she was tased 5 times. One commenter said if you look close you can see she was tasered more than 4 times.

  • newt dal

    After getting up the nerve to watch this video again, I am even more shocked at this torture/murder in a jail, witnessed by numerous jail personnel milling around. Natasha McKenna died around 25:01. This would be shortly after they pulled her in the chair and tased her some more. We don’t know how many times she was tased on the floor because they didn’t holler taser before she was tased. We did see the taser man put his full body weight on her pressing his knees in her back, while bringing the taser from behind his back. He did this at least two times. The darts were clearly in her leg when she was lifted from the floor. They hogtied her on the floor, so it surely must have been to torture her. She couldn’t bend her knees or do anything else while hogtied. According to Kincaid’s report she was also being punched in the thighs while hogtied. One member of the death squad even had his knees on her head and neck. At one time they were all pressing down on her body with their knees. Natasha McKenna was already severely injured when they pulled her up by the hair hard. Then the death squad has the nerve to tell her to slide back or else she’ll be tased. Talking about malicious; The woman is shackled at the legs, handcuffed behind the back and injured. After shouts of stop resisting, the tasing starts again. The heavily accented matrons are called to “check her out”. Natasha is in extreme distress at this point, rocking back and forth and knocking her legs together. At about 25:01 all movement stops and her head slumps forward. Everyone of these killers pretend they don’t notice this. She never moves again. They ask the matron if she is going to take vitals. If I heard correctly, the matron replies “SHE CAN’T GET VITALS NOW BECAUSE SHE IS IN TROUBLE” The death squad member replies “I just want to get her downstairs”. The matron takes the vitals. One of the death squad ask if everything is cool and the matron replies “no”. The death squad member tells her to try again and relays to the matron that all they want to do is get her downstairs. Translation: We don’t really care if she is alright or not, get it. The matron tries again with the same results. They proceed to put the cover over the dead Natasha McKenna. Her face is already hooded so they don’t have to bring the cover all the way to cover her face. All the time they are mocking the completely naked, utterly exposed “Ms. McKenna”. Once she is dead the mocking gets worse: “Ms. McKenna are you alright”, “Are you ALRIGHT”. A thumbs up is given by one of the death squad as she is rolled down the hall. In addition to being dead “Ms. McKenna” was still blindfolded and gagged. All the talk about plans to transport her were all for show, as was the desecration of her body after she was dead, with all the banging on it and shocking it again. THE EVIL THAT PSYCHOPATHIC MEN DO.