| Added On September 1, 2011
As a growing cause of personal injury and wrongful death actions, taser lawsuits have become increasingly popular across the U.S. Police often use tasers to stun and subdue unruly or uncooperative suspects. The devices transfer a powerful electric volt into the suspect causing him or her to immediately drop to the ground in an unconscious-like state. In some scenarios, the suspect has been severely injured, paralyzed or killed by the taser- often in the context of minor crimes or crimes incongruent with the use of force likely to cause injury or death.
The surviving parents of a 43-year old man killed by a taser have filled an assault, battery and negligence lawsuit against the San Bernadino sheriff’s department, the county of San Bernadino and three deputies. The victim was driving in the town of Rimforest, 60 miles northeast of Los Angeles, when he allegedly honked his horn at a patrol car that had turned in front of him. The deputy then positioned his vehicle behind the victim’s and pulled him over in a nearby gas station.
From there, court documents detail allegations that the deputy ordered the victim out of his vehicle at gunpoint, forced him to the ground and was at that point joined by two other law enforcement officers. Details are unclear as to whether the victim and the officer exchanged words or were otherwise engaged in an altercation. According to the lawsuit, the three officers all expended five taser cartridges on the victim and the victim then stopped breathing.
In addition to allegations of assault and battery, the suit contends that the officers were negligent in not offering to help resuscitate the victim after all three deputies failed to perform CPR on the victim.
In a statement released earlier this year, the precinct insists the victim was “combative” towards the officer and that one deputy did in fact attempt to perform CPR on the man. He was pronounced dead shortly thereafter at a local hospital.
The surviving family is seeking compensatory and general damages.