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'My God, what's goin' on?' | Judge's order breaks down Washington County fatal tasing

The judge last week dropped murder charges against three Washington County deputies, but his order raised new questions about the deadly-force case

Bernie O'Donnell

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It all started with a man trying to fill a Coke can with water on a steamy midsummer day.

It ended with that man dead by the side of Deepstep Road in Washington County.

According to Judge H. Gibb Flanders, a superior court judge, it took about 16 minutes.

Flanders' order, issued last Monday, threw out murder charges against three former Washington County deputies who responded to a "suspicious person" call.

Two of them tased Eurie Martin more than a dozen times on July 7, 2017, and he died within minutes.

The judge's order breaks down what happened, almost minute by minute, and provides new details about how Martin died.

But those details also raise more questions about the case.

The judge writes, for example, that deputies didn't know the department's tasing policy, didn't understand the health risks of tasing and didn't realize that Martin was mentally ill.

Flanders also noted several times that the suspect was not violent or aggressive toward the deputies.

Despite that, the officers used deadly force on a man suspected of minor crimes -- loitering, walking on the highway and obstructing an officer -- a misdemeanor.

District Attorney Heyward Altman says he'll appeal Flanders' Nov. 25 ruling.

That means a higher court may decide whether the tasings were justified or whether Martin was -- as the head of Georgia's NAACP said two years ago  -- electrocuted for "walking while black."