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Hospitalized suspect fell and hit his head after officer used Taser, Salem police say

Police indicated that 29-year-old Daniel Aniceto Garcia remains in the hospital and has been released from custody in the meantime.

SALEM, Ore. — A man wanted on a felony warrant remains hospitalized in Salem following an arrest attempt in the Northeast Neighbors area on Tuesday that involved the use of a Taser, according to Salem police.

Salem Police Department tweeted around 3:30 p.m. that Nebraska Street Northeast was closed between 16th and 17th streets due to police activity, asking drivers to avoid the area. The street remained closed as of 6:30 p.m. that evening.

According to an initial statement put out by the agency, a Salem patrol officer spotted a 29-year-old man wanted for "multiple felony crimes and warrants" around 3 p.m. near the intersection of Nebraska and 16th.

The man was identified Wednesday as Daniel Aniceto Garcia of Salem. He was being sought for a probation violation on an original offense of domestic assault, Salem police said, and officers had probable cause to arrest Garcia on first-degree burglary charges in three separate cases.

An officer tried to arrest Garcia, but he quickly tried to escape, according to Salem police. The officer got close enough to use a Taser on Garcia, who reportedly fell, "striking and injuring his head on the ground."

On Wednesday night, Garcia’s family members held a vigil for him in Salem.
His mother, Michele Sherell, said Garcia had long struggled with drugs and mental illness, but didn’t think he was a threat to anyone. Sherell said she witnessed police chase her son and believes their actions were excessive and unnecessary.

“A mother should not have to see her son running in such fear running from the police,” said Sherell. “A mother should never have to hear his head cracking open and see blood running from it. A mother should never have to see 20 white cops or so standing around somebody saying hey, ‘Hey buddy what's your name?’ While he's unconscious.”

Salem police said that there was no other significant use of force involved and the officer was not injured. Garcia, on the other hand, was injured badly enough to require hospitalization.

"Although this event did not involve the use of deadly physical force, the Salem Police Department proactively requested Oregon State Police assist with the investigation due to the severity of injuries Garcia sustained," the agency said Wednesday.

Officers provided first aid at the scene before paramedics arrived, police said. Garcia was taken to Salem Health for treatment. Beyond the oblique reference to the severity of his injuries, Salem police did not provide any update Wednesday or Thursday on his medical condition.

Salem police also acknowledged that Garcia was being guarded after admission to the hospital because he was in police custody when he was admitted, and police coordinated with the hospital to restrict access — identifying one family member to serve as a point of contact and arranging "controlled visitation" for the family.

"This is not something law enforcement is required to do, but it was the right thing to do," SPD said. "Arrangements were also made for hospital staff to provide regular medical updates directly to a family member, rather than through the police department. This, too, is also outside hospital protocol for in-custody patients, but it was the right thing to do."

The agency said that Garcia's charges have been referred to the Marion County District Attorney's office for a charging decision due to the anticipated length of medical care required, and Garcia has been released from police custody in the meantime.

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