Death by Electrocutioner

In a worst-case scenario for stun guns, a Phoenix cop kills a suspect with an 84-second tasing

In August 2004, Anderson and Williams bought a house together, just before Williams' divorce from her husband became final. The couple later changed the paperwork to reflect her new single status.

Under department policy, there's nothing wrong with patrol officers becoming romantically involved, though superiors are barred from engaging in intimate relationships with subordinates.

But supervisors at the Phoenix department usually frown upon romantically involved cops working on the same squads. It isn't known if any superiors knew of the close relationship between Anderson and Williams at the time of Graff's death.

Autopsy notes on Keith Graff: Circles show where Taser probes struck Graff’s chest about three inches apart.
Autopsy notes on Keith Graff: Circles show where Taser probes struck Graff’s chest about three inches apart.
Terry Graff was proud of his son, Keith, during Keith's stint as a U.S. Army paratrooper. But troubles with methamphetamine later dominated Keith Graff's short life.
courtesy of Terry Graff
Terry Graff was proud of his son, Keith, during Keith's stint as a U.S. Army paratrooper. But troubles with methamphetamine later dominated Keith Graff's short life.

When Chuck Anderson learned on the night of May 3, 2005, that "Cage" was in an apartment at 844 East Bell Road, the first person he contacted was Carla Williams.

Not long after, officers Anderson, Williams, Matt Makinster and, a bit later, Charlie Lambert, arrived at the apartment. At first, the four people inside said they didn't know anyone named K.G. or Cage, but then one of them stepped outside and told Anderson that the cops could find him in another apartment in the complex.

Makinster and Lambert stayed behind to keep on eye on the occupants there, as Anderson and Williams went to Apartment 3034, less than a minute's walk away.

Keith Graff's roommate later told police what happened inside the apartment moments before Anderson fired his Taser, and what she heard after the struggle between Graff and the two cops moved out onto the narrow third-floor landing.

Stephanie Slaven, 22, informed detectives that Graff had been living with her for a few weeks after the two had bumped into each other at the complex's hot tub. She said she hadn't seen Graff since junior high, but she'd needed help with her rent and he was seeking someplace to stay.

Graff had moved in with some clothes and his laptop computer.

Slaven said, earlier on the evening of May 3, she and Graff each consumed a can of Bud Light. She claimed not to have seen him using drugs that night.

She said she was watching television shortly before midnight. Graff was playing a game on his laptop. Without announcing himself, a male cop — Chuck Anderson — stuck his head in through an open door inside a small patio that leads into the living room, where the roommates were sitting.

Slaven said a female officer — Carla Williams — stood a few feet behind Anderson inside the patio area.

Anderson asked Keith Graff if he went by the nickname of Cage. Graff said no, that his name was Keith, and that Cage was in a different part of the complex.

The officer then allowed Graff to go by himself to his bedroom to get identification. Slaven said the cop unholstered his service weapon as Graff left the room, and he told her to stay put in her chair.

Graff soon returned, and sat back down in his own chair.

He handed Anderson a driver's license, but it immediately became obvious to the officer that it depicted a different person and had a different first name than Keith printed on it.

Anderson ordered Graff, a wiry 5-feet-11 and 171 pounds, to stand up.

It was probably at this point, Slaven recalled, that Anderson took a closed, folding knife from the right front pocket of Graff's shorts and tossed it into a corner.

Graff asked the cop, "What are you doing with my knife?" It was the last thing anyone recalls him saying.

Anderson grabbed for Graff, according to Slaven, but the suspect slipped from his grasp and started to "fast walk" out of the apartment through the patio door past the two cops.

She said she didn't see either of the officers deploy a Taser but did hear the electric buzz of the device for "about a minute."

Slaven said she'd stayed seated as Anderson had ordered and couldn't see much as the scuffle quickly moved from the patio out onto the landing. She said she did see that the officers had gotten Graff down to the ground.

Slaven later told a patrol officer and then a detective that she heard Williams tell Anderson to keep "it" on Keith Graff. The young woman had taken that to mean the Taser.

Slaven also said she heard Graff making "weird noises" as he was being Tased and heard Williams tell Anderson afterward that their suspect wasn't breathing.

Officer Chuck Anderson would give three official accounts of what happened at 844 East Bell. The first was to a Phoenix homicide detective about four hours after the incident. The second was a few hours after that to an internal affairs sergeant. Two weeks later, on May 17, he spoke on tape to a second internal affairs investigator.

Anderson first told Detective Carl Caruso that he saw Graff's nickname of Cage scrolling across the laptop when the suspect had gone to the bedroom to fetch his phony ID. He said Williams "at some point" had nodded affirmatively to him from the patio that Graff was the person who had shoved her two weeks earlier.

Anderson said he tried to grab the shirtless Graff inside the apartment, but the guy darted for the patio door where Williams was waiting with her Taser in hand. He said Williams fired her Taser at Graff, but missed.

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