TBI investigating death of McMinn County man deputy used stun gun on during altercation

Staff Photo / The McMinn County Justice Center in Athens, Tenn., is shown in 2010.
Staff Photo / The McMinn County Justice Center in Athens, Tenn., is shown in 2010.

The death of a McMinn County man after a deputy serving court papers used a stun gun on him is being investigated by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Authorities identified the dead man as Christopher Kent Graham, 43, of Niota, according to TBI spokesperson Susan Niland.

"McMinn County Sheriff's deputies attempted to serve an order of protection at a residence on County Road 360 in Niota," Niland said in an emailed statement. "There was an altercation between the officers and Christopher Kent Graham, and Graham was tased. He became unresponsive, and EMS transported him to a local hospital, where he was pronounced deceased."

(READ MORE: McMinn authorities probe assault, shooting stemming from crash)

The incident happened Oct. 5, authorities said. The scene on County Road 360 is less than 2 miles northwest of Niota's town limits in a rural area with scattered homes and farmland.

The incident was tragic for everyone involved, particularly the family, McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy said.

"It's standard having TBI investigate a death that's in any way related to our agency," Guy said in a phone interview. "We are working very closely with the family in an unfortunate situation, and our prayers are with them and the officers who were involved."

(READ MORE: Sheriff: Inmate died following assault at Hamilton County Jail)

There has been no change in the employment status of the officers who were at the home on County Road 360, Guy said.

"We're awaiting TBI's final findings," the sheriff said.

Contact Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569.

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