Body-cam video released in deadly struggle with Sonoma County deputies

The Sonoma County sheriff's office has released body-cam video in a deadly confrontation between deputies and a man suffering a mental crisis.

The video shows Deputy Bryan Jensen responding on Aug. 15 to a dispute involving a couple inside an upholstery shop on River Road in Guerneville. Witnesses say he was having a psychotic episode and fighting over a phone and medication.

Will Edwards was inside the shop and saw what happened.

"He was trying to keep her from dialing 9-1-1 because she had the phone and the pills in her hand," Edwards said. "He was gone. There was something wrong with him."

After Jensen knocked on the door, 49-year-old Donald Miller of Sacramento then came outside - while holding onto his wife.

Miller wife is crying and says to the deputy, "Thank you, please help me me, please help me, please help me!"

The deputy tries to get Miller's hands behind his back, but Miller refuses and tries to pull away, authorities said.

At this point, Jensen's body cam is knocked off his chest as the deputy pulls the suspect to the ground.

A second deputy, Michael Matelli arrives, and his body-cam captures the initial takedown.

The suspect gets up on his knees.

"And he bounced right back up and they were in a fight again," Edwards said,

The second deputy then Tases Miller.

The suspect fell onto his stomach with his arms underneath his body.

Deputy Matelli says, "I'm going to do it again," referring to his Taser.

Matelli tased the suspect several more times.

The deputies continue to yell commands as Miller struggles.

"Put your hands behind your back or you're going to get it again!" a deputy yells.

The suspect then begins quoting scripture.

"In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you," he said. A few moments later, he says, "8:21:32."

At one point, Deputy Jensen orders a halt to the Tasing. "Hold on a second, hold on a second, stop! No more deployments!" Jensen tells Matelli.

The deputies eventually are able to use two handcuffs to secure Miller.

But minutes later they realize he's unresponsive, and they begin CPR. He later died.

"This guy was strong, and they were forced to use the Taser. I mean, I would defend that 100 percent," said witness Tony Franceschi.

Edwards agreed, saying, "He would still be alive if he would have complied. He did not comply. They gave him every opportunity."

In an interview with KTVU, Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick said, "Any time a loss of life occurs it's tragic. And we are looking into this. We're conducting an internal affairs investigation on the use of force to determine whether it's appropriate."

To avoid any conflict of interest, the Marin County coroner is trying to determine the cause of Miller's death. Santa Rosa police are conducting the criminal investigation.