Family Wants Answers From California Highway Patrol After Man Hit With Taser Dies

Kristina Compher worries that her three children are not the same people they were a year ago, before their father Christopher Murphy died after an auto accident and subsequent encounter with two California Highway Patrol officers who allegedly hit him with a Taser, hog-tied and handcuffed him after finding him wandering near the crash.

Her oldest son, Gabriel, who shared a love of the Raiders with his father, gave up playing football for nearly a year.

Her 13-year-old daughter, Alexis, writes poems to her father but is falling behind in school.

Her 10-year-old son, Cayden, refuses to go to school at all and sleeps on the couch with Murphy’s ashes.

“I can honestly say that my household, we once sat down and laughed with each other and played games, and we don’t even do that anymore,” she said. “There are days I don’t even want to wake up because I don’t know what to do.”

One of the hardest parts for the family has been the lack of information about how and why Murphy died, Compher said. After an initial interview with CHP officers in December of last year, Murphy said she hasn’t heard from the agency since, despite her repeated requests for answers to a long list of questions.

Thursday, she will file a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging excessive force to push for more details.

“I don’t want it to come out as a negative. I just want to know what happened, that’s all,” Compher said. “I want to know his last moments. I still feel very much connected to him. I still feel he doesn’t want me to let go of it. I have to know, was he in pain? Did he say anything?”

The incident began when CHP dispatchers began receiving 911 calls about a wrong-way driver on Interstate 5 near Airport Boulevard at 11:26 p.m. on the night of Dec. 7, 2016. It was raining, and Murphy was allegedly driving north in the southbound lanes when he crashed his SUV into another vehicle near Power Line Road.

Murphy’s 2001 Toyota Highlander rolled and caught fire, shutting down both lanes of traffic, based on a Twitter post from the Sacramento Fire Department that was later removed from its feed.

The occupants of the other vehicle suffered minor injuries. Officers from the Woodland office of the CHP found Murphy, 41, “walking in and out of the lanes of traffic,” according to a news release issued by the agency almost two weeks later, after The Sacramento Bee inquired about Murphy’s death.

An officer approached Murphy and “attempted to escort him over to the shoulder for safety,” the release said. But Murphy “began to struggle with the officer and an altercation ensued.”

The two responding officers, Adam Poole and Michael Simpson, both used their Tasers in “drive stun mode” to gain control of Murphy, according to the release.

Drive stun mode with Tasers involves putting the device directly against the skin to deliver a painful electrical charge, rather than shooting skin-penetrating barbs meant to disable. The drive stun mode is considered a lesser use of force than firing the Taser.

The lawsuit also alleges that after using their Tasers, officers hog-tied and handcuffed Murphy.

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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