Nursing home patient dies after Tasering

Published 10:32 am Thursday, August 22, 2013

ST. LOUIS PARK — A 76-year-old man died last month of serious injuries suffered two weeks earlier when police subdued him with a Taser at a St. Louis Park nursing home, authorities said Wednesday.

Zheng Diao, who had been behaving erratically, was wielding a knife and scissors when officers were called to Park Health and Rehab on July 14, police said.

Police gestured for Diao, who didn’t speak English, to drop the weapons when he moved the knife toward his throat.

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When the officers used the Taser to try to prevent Diao from harming himself, he fell and hurt his face.

Diao, who originally was from Blaine, died July 29 at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis from pneumonia that developed as he was being treated for delirium and injuries from the fall, the Hennepin County medical examiner’s office said Wednesday.

The nursing home facility would not answer questions from the newspaper about the incident, but issued a statement from administrator Kristie Johnsrud, who described the matter as “an unfortunate situation.”

“Our staff responded quickly and appropriately at the time of the incident by immediately contacting the local authorities for assistance,” Johnsrud said.

In a news release, the St. Louis Park Police Department said that it was informed of Diao’s death Aug. 5, and that it plans to enlist an outside agency to investigate the death.

Minnesota Department of Health Department spokesman Mike Schommer told the Star Tribune he could not comment about whether the agency is investigating the incident.