An Ohio man has filed a lawsuit against the city of Painesville and two police officers for allegedly causing his brain injury. The suit stems from an incident in June where the officers shot the man with a Taser for 21 seconds, leaving him with mental and physical disabilities.
A Taser is a name brand for a type of electroshock weapon widely used by law enforcement. It fires two probes that land on the target, and sends an electric current through the probes to shock the person. It is intended to be a nonlethal weapon used to subdue violent suspects. However, a number of cases have come up where the person shocked by the weapon suffers serious injuries or dies as a result.
According to a recent article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the incident took place in June. The man and his wife were throwing a party at their home. The two officers came to the house to report that neighbors had complained about the noise. The man told the officers he would keep the noise down, and the officers left.
However, they later returned, telling the man that they were going to arrest him for disorderly conduct. According to the lawsuit, the officers forced their way into the house and one of them fired their Taser at the man. The officer fired the charge into the man for 21 seconds straight as the man lay convulsing on the floor. The Plain Dealer article says that Taser recommends not shocking a person for more than five seconds at a time.
As the man lay in a fetal position with his eyes rolled up into his head, the officers ordered him to submit to arrest. When the man was unable to respond, they shocked him again and dragged him into the hallway.
The man's attorney said that he suffered a heart attack as a result of the prolonged Taser shock. He currently has trouble with motor skills, memory, speech and thinking clearly. Police never charged the man with a crime following his arrest. The suit alleges that the officers were not properly trained in the use of Tasers, and used excessive force against the man.
Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer, "Lawsuits target use of Taser, excessive force by law enforcement officials," Leila Atassi, December 23, 2010