For years she thought her son died of an overdose. Police footage changed all that


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Editor’s note: This record includes visuals information. Reader discernment is suggested.

BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) — It remained in the den that Karen Goodwin most highly really felt her son’s existence: On the coffee table were his ashes, inside a clock with its hands for life iced up at 12:35 a.m., the minute that a physician had obvious him dead.

As Goodwin brushed up and cleaned the area, she’d usually locate herself speaking with her son, a comforting one-way discussion that assisted her maintain his spirit active.

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She’d inform him concerning his nephews and nieces buying knapsacks for the brand-new academic year, or the current from the Bristol Motor Speedway and her bike adventure along Highway 421, one of one of the most picturesque courses in the state.

“I wish you had been there,” she’d state wistfully.

This 2012 family members picture programs Austin Hunter Turner at the age of 18, angling with pals near to home in Bristol, Tenn. (Brian Goodwin using AP)

This 2012 family members picture programs Austin Hunter Turner with his mom, Karen Goodwin, at the wedding celebration of her earliest son. (Kim Rutledge using AP)

Austin Hunter Turner died in 2017, on an evening that Goodwin has actually rewound and repeated repeatedly, attempting to make good sense of what took place. Something simply didn’t accumulate. There was the race to his house, the panic of seeing her “baby boy” battle to take a breath, the turmoil of paramedics in the cooking area. Her sensations of vulnerability as she wished him to live.

Her feelings have actually been shateringly contrasting. There was the deep embarassment that Turner died of a medication overdose. The uncertainties when her very own memory split with the main police story. More lately, rage and outrage. She currently thinks she has actually invested all these years coping with a lie that has actually evaluated what was as soon as a tenacious belief in the police, paramedics and the lawful system.

Goodwin’s son is amongst greater than 1,000 individuals throughout the United States that died over a years after police limited them in methods that are not meant to be deadly, according to an examination by The Associated Press in cooperation with FRONTLINE (PBS) and the Howard Centers for Investigative Journalism.

Turner’s situation highlights a main searching for of the AP examination: In the consequences of deadly police experiences including the usage of Tasers, strength and various other techniques, an absence of liability penetrates the justice system. From the policeman at the scene and their leaders to district attorneys and clinical supervisors, the system guards policemans from analysis.

Goodwin and her family members are instances of what can take place when police techniques go also much in such a system: The fact can be shed. Like the Goodwins, hundreds of households have actually been entrusted to duke it out inaccurate or insufficient stories that have actually modified the lives of the dead, and re-ordered the lives of those left.

The dreadful evening

Goodwin remained in bed when her phone sounded. It was her son’s partner, Michelle Stowers. She was agitated. Turner had actually simply broken down on the cooking area flooring.

“He’s not moving,” Stowers sobbed. “I don’t think he’s breathing. What should I do?”

The mom’s heart hammered.

“Call 911. I’m on my way,” Goodwin claimed, her mind auto racing via dreadful opportunities.

Was her son active? Dead? He’d had a couple of seizures, yet they were absolutely nothing significant.

As she sped up to Turner’s house on that cozy moist evening in August 2017, Goodwin called and signaled her other half, Brian, and older son, Dustin. She additionally called her sis yet can just utter: “Pray for Hunter.”

When she showed up, Goodwin discovered her son wheezing for breath on the linoleum of his cooking area flooring. His eyes were uninhabited. His body drank. Foam splashed from his mouth.

The mom thought her son may pass away ideal after that. A paramedic showed up, and Goodwin informed him that Turner had actually experienced small seizures prior to.

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“Hunter, this is momma,” she claimed, stooping, pushing an oxygen mask to his face.

The front door ruptured open, and police policemans and firemans abounded right into the small house. Medics had actually asked for aid limiting Turner to treat him. They thought Turner was standing up to.

As the area loaded with voices and devices, Goodwin tipped away, happy. She and her other half and kids had actually constantly appreciated paramedics and police. They were heroes. And she understood they’d do every little thing in their power to conserve her son’s life.

Then an policeman yelled: “Get up off the floor!” Goodwin listened to an additional say, “You’re going to get tased if you keep it up.”

She really felt confused. Her motherly impulses started. “Please,” she urged them, “don’t hurt him more than you have to!”

The policemans were pinning Turner facedown on a recliner chair. A couple of mins later on, he was strapped to a cot, once more facedown.

In this picture from Bristol Police Department body-camera video clip, Austin Hunter Turner, 23, exists controlled face down in an rescue in Bristol, Tenn., on Aug. 29, 2017. (Bristol Police Department using AP)

Goodwin followed them to the waiting rescue. She peered inside: Her son looked like he was subconscious, with an odd type of mask drew over his head. His legs were bound.

Goodwin really felt helpless. That was her son. She’d offer her life for him.

‘My baby needs to rest now’

Goodwin complied with the rescue to the Bristol Regional Medical Center.

After a long haul, the emergency clinic physician claimed that “for all intents and purposes” Turner was dead. “Your son is young and strong,” he claimed. “We’re going to continue working on him for that reason.”

He stopped briefly, prior to proceeding: “We’ll take you back — if you think you can handle it.”

Steps away, she saw a group of medical professionals and registered nurses attempting to obtain Turner’s heart pumping once more. She looked at her son’s empty face when they made use of a defibrillator to attempt to stun him back to life.

Nothing functioned.

“We can keep going,” the physician claimed.

Goodwin swung her hand. She required a minute. Her son wasn’t relocating. He didn’t reply to her voice, or the life-saving actions. When she’d touched his breast, it seemed like Jell-O, due to the fact that the paramedics, registered nurses and medical professionals had actually squashed every little thing in there while attempting to conserve him. Goodwin understood what she needed to do.

“That’s enough,” she claimed. “My baby needs to rest now.”

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As she beinged in the sterilized health center waiting area, she asked yourself: Why her son? He’s such a mild, type heart, Goodwin thought. Everyone liked him.

He was boyishly good-looking, with brown hair and a little goatee and chinstrap of hair along his jawline. A couple of inches brief of 6 feet, Turner had a solid, outdoorsy kind of appearance. He was outbound, prepared to talk despite having unfamiliar people.

Turner wanted rapid motorcycles and possessed a maroon Suzuki SV650 that can fly along at 130 miles per hour.

He’d hit the trail with his mother and father and friends, competing up high stretches of the Appalachian Mountains with barrette transforms. Sometimes, he’d transform so sharp and deep he’d scratch the knees of his pants along the ground.

The 23-year-old Turner functioned chores to assist make ends fulfill — recently it was reconditioning furnishings.

“I have plenty of time to grow up,” he informed his moms and dads.

Now, as she rested there, she really felt those words resounding in her head.

An overdose?

At 4 a.m., Goodwin searched for and saw her other half hurrying right into the waiting area. She required him currently, even more than ever before.

Karen had actually fulfilled Brian in 1996 when he quit to load his container at the filling station where she functioned as a cashier. They were promptly drawn in to every various other. Karen was attracted to his large smile and ironical feeling of wit, and Brian to the cashier’s lively individuality and lengthy blonde hair. Karen and Brian were wed within a year.

From the start, Karen liked just how her other half dealt with her 2 young boys from a previous marital relationship as his very own, showing them to quest and fish, adventure motorcycle and bikes. An electrical expert that invested weeks when traveling, he had actually sped up the 200 miles southern from West Virginia to Bristol in under 3 hours. Brian Goodwin, a big goon that never ever sobbed, was having a tough time holding it with each other.

Karen Goodwin, facility, and her other half, Brian, right, mean a picture with their son, Dustin Talley, Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, in Bristol, Tenn. Goodwin’s more youthful son, Austin Hunter Turner, died after an experience with the Bristol Police Department in 2017. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

“What happened?” he asked.

Goodwin claimed she didn’t understand. She claimed she’d hear a Bristol law enforcement officer state that Turner had died of a medication overdose.

The moms and dads understood their son smoked cannabis. They additionally understood he obtained high utilizing Suboxone, a substance abuse to discourage individuals off opioids. But they didn’t assume either medicine can result in an overdose.

It didn’t make good sense to Goodwin. Why were police stating this, she asked yourself. They had actually gained from Turner’s partner that he had actually appeared penalty when she obtained home from her late change at Walmart. He hadn’t acted stoned. He had actually broken down out of heaven. How could this be an overdose?


After a funeral, the Goodwins and 2 lots of Turner’s pals recognized his memory with a procession of bikes that climbed up the sharp hillsides of the Appalachians. When they went back to Bristol, the team claimed their bye-byes. That evening, Goodwin really felt an vacuum in her heart. It would certainly be a long period of time prior to she really felt anything else.

Brian returned to function after a month. Keeping hectic assisted him take care of his despair.

But Goodwin couldn’t locate an electrical outlet. The mom tattooed her left arm with an picture of her son’s thumbprint, and a clock evaluated 12:35. The tattoo musician had combined traces of Turner’s ashes right into the ink.

Mother and son had actually taken pleasure in an unique link. He was an adventurer, a fun-loving child. Whenever something failed — like the moment he injured himself embarking on a next-door neighbor’s patio, or collapsing her vehicle right into a utility post as he attempted to instruct himself to drive a standard transmission — he’d run directly to her. And she was constantly there to state, “It’s all right, Hunter. It’s all right.”

Her son had actually constantly been there for her, also. When she had actually been detected with cancer cells in 2015 and cosmetic surgeons had actually eliminated one of her lungs and component of the various other, her son had actually been the one to support her up.

Every early morning he’d rest beside his mom on the front patio, covering her with a covering to maintain her cozy. Sometimes, he’d hold his mom’s shivering hands and murmur, “I love you. You’ll be OK, Mom. You’ll be OK.”

Now, Goodwin duke it outed existential concerns. Why did she battle so tough to defeat cancer cells just to have her son pass away prior to her?

Karen Goodwin relaxes at a roadside market throughout a motorbike adventure along U.S. Highway 421, additionally referred to as The Snake, Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, in Shady Valley, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

As the years endured, she discovered relief in the den, beside her son’s ashes. Sometimes, she’d consider the weeks and months adhering to Turner’s fatality. When she acquired his postmortem examination record, it described that he died of an overdose and duplicated the main police variation of occasions — that policemans had actually mosted likely to Turner’s house to assist the boy, yet he had actually been also stoned to work together. He combated them, and in the long run, it had actually cost him his life.

During that duration, she had actually spoken with police that they had actually attempted to conserve Turner yet couldn’t because of the medicines and his heart.

A solid fan of police, Goodwin seriously intended to think that police and paramedics had actually acted suitably. But something was gnawing at her. Sometimes, she’d awaken in the center of the evening and listen to the law enforcement officer intimidating to terminate his Taser.

She’d remember that her son appeared to be having a seizure, and police held him down as he battled to take a breath. She had a tough time making even those activities with what she understood in her heart was a clinical emergency situation.

But she simply didn’t trust fund her recollection. She really felt continuously up in arms — her memory matched versus her deep count on the police.

And extra times than not, she wound up pressing her uncertainties apart. Why would certainly the police exist? She intended to think they had actually done every little thing they can to conserve her son.

The tough fact

On Aug. 14, she listened to a knock on her door. When she opened it, she discovered 2 Associated Press press reporters that asked if she wished to know even more concerning just how her son had died. They had video clips that the family members had actually never ever seen.

It was difficult for Goodwin to take them up on the deal. She understood it would certainly hurt to review the most awful evening of her life.

After a week of painful, she took a seat at her cooking area table and looked at a laptop computer prior to striking use the video clips caught by police body cams. The residence was silent besides the ping of a wind chime.

The video clips on her computer system display took Goodwin directly back. Body cams put on by policemans Eric Keller and Kevin Frederick had actually caught most of the communications in between police, paramedics and Turner.

At times, the numbers were tough to construct out, yet one point was clear: From the very first minute police showed up, Turner was dealt with as a suspicious standing up to apprehension — not as a client encountering an emergency situation.

Goodwin viewed in scary as law enforcement agents appeared to overlook the reality they had actually been sent off to a clinical phone call.

Paramedics attempted to require Turner onto his feet. He procured to his knees and for a short while stand. He took a solitary action and fell over.

Officers started shrieking that Turner was standing up to apprehension, being combative and disobeying their commands. But the video clip appeared to reveal Turner was having a seizure.

During a seizure, the muscle mass of the arms, legs and face tense, after that start to jerk. The video clips revealed that Turner was not tossing strikes. He wasn’t kicking.

When Keller bounded right into the house, the video clip reveals he chewed out the flailing Turner, that was selected in a recliner chair, “You’re going to get tased if you keep it up.”

Despite paramedics alerting him to wait, concerning 10 secs later on Keller shot. Goodwin flinched when she listened to the tool’s loud pop complied with by her son’s agonizing cry, as electrical power gushed via his body.

“You’re not going to win this battle,” an additional paramedic claimed.

Goodwin was aghast.

“Win what?” she thought. “This isn’t a contest. My son isn’t resisting. He’s dying!”

The pressure didn’t finish there. A paramedic splashed a sedative up Turner’s nose, yet many of it wound up on the paramedic.

Police maintained limiting Turner — also after he was cuffed facedown on the top of the reclining chair. They bound his legs.

When police moved Turner to a cart, they once more placed him facedown and strapped him in position. As blood splashed from his mouth, they covered his head with a spit hood.

Once inside the rescue, an policeman rested on Turner’s body — despite the fact that he was still on his belly. There was no thrill to obtain him to the health center. Instead, the body cam revealed policeman and paramedics invested 6 mins stating the “battle.”

It was just after that that a paramedic discovered that Turner wasn’t breathing. Attendants eliminated the restrictions, turned him over, and started mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. After concerning 10 mins a paramedic strolled right into the structure. For a minute, he researched his associates that were functioning feverishly to revitalize Turner. He looked puzzled.

“What the hell happened here?” he asked. “Did we cut his damn airway off?”

They claimed no. As paramedics remained to work with Turner, the skeptical paramedic asked, “Y’all ain’t recording are you?”

The policeman shut off his body cam. Goodwin’s display all of a sudden went empty.

‘A damn lie’

The Goodwins were livid. The video clips elevated troubling concerns. So, they chose to pierce down right into papers –- the police records and postmortem examination –- to search for solutions.

They quickly ended up being persuaded the Bristol police area had actually existed concerning what had actually occurred.

Police didn’t consist of any kind of declarations in their records from Karen Goodwin and her various other son, Dustin, that had actually remained in the house throughout the experience. The occasions police explained were an unlike what Goodwin and her son had actually seen, or what was caught by the body cams. They had actually made Turner bent on be a bad guy.

In a record, Lt. Greg Brown claimed the paramedics informed police the boy was grabbing a blade on the cooking area counter.

“A damn lie,” Goodwin thought. She’d seen a paramedic clear the counters prior to police showed up.

Keller claimed he terminated his Taser to quit Turner from dealing with the clinical workers.

Goodwin understood her son was stunned from the seizures. He wasn’t resisting. They had no factor to stun him.

Brian and Karen Goodwin mean a picture near a memorial for bike cyclists that consists of the name of her son, Austin Hunter Turner, along U.S. Highway 421, Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, in Shady Valley, Tenn. For years, the pair had actually thought the tale they’d been informed — that Hunter had died of a medication overdose. But after examining papers and video clips gotten by AP, they are currently persuaded he didn’t pass away from medicines – they think he was eliminated by police. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Brown composed in a record that Turner was battling with paramedics when he got to the house. Goodwin existed. She saw no such point. The body cam revealed the contrary.

Using buzzwords that repainted the target as the assailant, Brown claimed Turner was “combative,” “agitated,” and had “ignored commands.” Brown kept in mind that Turner had extraordinary toughness like those intoxicated of narcotics.

Sullivan County District Attorney Barry Staubus had actually asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to analyze Turner’s fatality.

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The detective talked with witnesses and accumulated various other information, Staubus claimed in an meeting with AP. But after examining the TBI record and the body-camera footage, Staubus ended that Turner died of a medication overdose. Nothing in the postmortem examination ended the pressure and “restraint techniques” had actually triggered or added to Turner’s fatality.

The Goodwins revealed bookings concerning the state’s examination and the district attorney’s choice to protect police from liability. They kept in mind that state detectives never ever connected to 2 of one of the most vital witnesses: Karen Goodwin and Dustin. The state detective had actually sent out messages to Turner’s partner and a next-door neighbor at the scene, asking if they’d chat. They claimed yes.

They never ever spoken with the detective once more.

Tennessee legislation maintains personal the state’s examination data, consisting of those that information deadly police experiences – unless the fatality entails a capturing. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation decreased to talk about Turner’s fatality.

Bristol’s principal of police would certainly not address concerns when gotten to by the AP. Lt. Brown and policemans Keller and Frederick did not respond to ask for remark, and neither did paramedics entailed. The Bristol Fire Department did not reply to duplicated ask for remark.

The Goodwins were additionally astonished by the postmortem examination record. Medical Examiner Eugene Scheuerman had actually proclaimed Turner’s fatality an mishap. He died of “Multiple Drug Toxicity” pertaining to his usage of the opioid in Suboxone and the psychedelic chemical in cannabis.

An evaluation discovered a “therapeutic to lethal level” of Suboxone in Turner’s system. Scheuerman included that “dilated cardiomyopathy” — a problem that influences the heart’s capability to pump adequate oxygen-rich blood — was a contributing element to Turner’s fatality.

The postmortem examination record additionally duplicated the police variation of occasions.

He didn’t note that policeman had actually positioned Turner facedown and used their body weight, a strategy that has actually long been slammed by professionals for limiting breathing.

The Goodwins asked yourself if the clinical inspector had actually troubled to enjoy the police video clips. Scheuerman has considering that died.

Three professionals that evaluated the papers for AP pertaining to the case differed with the postmortem examination searchings for: they claimed Turner did not pass away of a medication overdose. Instead, they claimed the Bristol police made vital mistakes that added to Turner’s fatality, consisting of putting him facedown in such a way that can limit his breathing.

“They didn’t understand the dangers of prolonged restraint and the pressure on his back,” claimed Jack Ryan, a police training professional and a previous law enforcement officer and manager.

Forever twelve o’clock at night

Karen and Brian Goodwin claimed they were still determining just how ahead to terms with the fact. They had actually condemned their son for his very own death and had actually really felt exceptionally guilty concerning that. They are currently persuaded he didn’t pass away from medicines — he was eliminated by police.

What harms a lot is that many individuals around think Turner died of an overdose. The moms and dads still can listen to the murmurs in food store and dining establishments: Their kid would certainly still live if he hadn’t been a drug addict.

“That’s the stigma that we’ve had to live with, ‘Your son was a dumbass.’ We’ve had to live with that as his legacy,” Brian claimed. “I want everyone to know the truth.”

What’s following? A claim? Becoming supporters for holding police answerable in arrest-related fatalities so an additional family members doesn’t undergo their discomfort? They question just how they will certainly respond if police draw them over along the roadway. They still sustain the police. But will they be considerate?

Karen concerns she might be going out of time. Her health and wellness, vulnerable from the cancer cells battle, has actually been flagging. She rejoices she discovered the fact, yet she concerns she won’t live enough time to do anything with it.

“My son didn’t do this to himself,” Karen claimed, resisting rips. “He didn’t have to die … His death killed a part of us.”

She transformed and researched the clock on the coffee table. Even with all the brand-new info, the clock’s hands continue to be set, unmoving, stuck for life at 35 mins previous twelve o’clock at night.

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