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Tasered suspect gets home detention

A 32-year-old Oak Harbor man who got tasered on the buttocks while fighting a police officer was sentenced this week.

Under a plea bargain, Travis McKinney pleaded guilty in Island County Superior Court Oct. 19 to fourth-degree assault and resisting arrest.

The judge sentenced McKinney to 365 days in jail, with all but 20 days suspended. Court documents indicate that the 20-day sentence may be converted to electronic home monitoring.

In addition, McKinney must pay $715 in fines and fees; he must obtain an alcohol evaluation and comply with the recommendation.

The sentence was recommended by the prosecution and defense as part of the plea bargain. McKinney was originally charged with the third-degree assault of a police officer.

Oak Harbor Police Officer Larry Ferguson responded to a report of a disorderly person at an Oak Harbor bar at about 9 p.m. on Jan. 18. An employee said that a customer, later identified as McKinney, had used foul language and threatened to kill him, the report states.

The employee asked the officer to “trespass” McKinney from the business, meaning that McKinney wouldn’t be allowed to return. Ferguson drove around and found McKinney at Windjammer Park.

Ferguson called McKinney over to his patrol car, saying that he would issue him a written warning and then he could go free. But McKinney got upset, threatened to harm the officer and refused to go to the car.

When Ferguson grabbed him by the arm, McKinney punched the officer in the chest three times, the report states. Ferguson shot his taser gun at him, but one of the probes didn’t make contact.

Ferguson wrote that he got McKinney on the ground, but the suspect continued to resist until the officer zapped him with the taser.

“I then made a ‘contact’ tase in his right buttocks area which had an immediate and positive response as I told him to stop resisting and put his hands behind his back,” Ferguson wrote.

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