It took a long time for the SIU (Special Investigations Unit) and state reports to come back, but a Kennewick officer has been exonerated in the death of a man who officials now say died of meth intoxication.

Last September 27th, Nicolas Garza was found by police near Park Middle School in Kennewick, reports indicated he was acting erratically and possibly on drugs. Officer Ealy-Thomas was the first to arrive, and deployed his Taser after Garza got up off the ground and displayed an 11-inch kitchen knife and began advancing at the officer. He had been lying on the ground kicking and screaming when the officer got there.

After being Tasered, it was apparent it didn't work, but then Garza obeyed officer's commands, but his condition began to 'deteriorate.' He was rushed to Trios Southridge ER, but his slipped away and died at the hospital. The final report indicates he died from meth intoxication.

Two other men have died from cardiac issues related to meth intoxication. One of them was January 20th when 48-year-old Jose Mercado Sr. was Tasered in Richland and later died at the hospital. Then on Sunday January 21st, 56-year-old Samuel Gonzales of Grandview was arrested following a chase that started near Prosser and ended in Yakima County. He was also Tasered after becoming aggressive towards Deputies. He also later died at an area hospital. Both of those men, according to autopsies and Benton County coroner Bill Leach, died from cardiac complications directly related to meth intoxication.

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