Lawsuit Over Taser Death Allowed to Continue Against County in Maryland

U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles has ruled that a Maryland police brutality lawsuit filed as a result of a 2007 Taser death that occurred when a man was shocked multiple times by a Frederick County Sheriff’s deputy, will be able to continue against the county and its sheriff’s department for the family’s civil rights claims.

Twenty-year-old Jarrel Gray died in November 2007, after he was shocked two times with a Taser by a Frederick County sheriff’s deputy, Corporal Rudy Torres. The family’s wrongful death lawsuit alleges that Gray was incapacitated when Torres fired the first electric shock, and the deputy waited 23 seconds and then fired his Taser a second time, which led to Gray’s death several hours later.

A previous order from Judge Quarles dismissed all defendants from the wrongful death lawsuit except the deputy who actually fired the Taser. However, after allowing the family to file an amended complaint, the Court has ruled that civil rights claims against the county and sheriff’s department can also continue.

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According to the Maryland Daily Record, the family’s second amended complaint, which was filed by attorneys Gregory Lattimer and Ted Williams, alleges that the county was responsible for hiring, training and supervising the deputies, and that they were not properly trained to use Tasers “when one person is tasered multiple times.”

Tasers, which are also commonly referred to as stun guns, are weapons designed to deliver a non-lethal shock that incapacitates an individual who may pose a threat. They are manufactured by Taser International and a growing number of law enforcement agencies throughout the United States use the weapons.

The misuse and overuse of Tasers has generated substantial criticism from civil rights groups, and Amnesty International has cited over 245 Taser deaths. Although tests on human subjects have shown that the devices function appropriately when used on a healthy, calm individual in a controlled environment, critics assert that they do not take into account real life use and possible repeated shocks.

The Maryland Taser death lawsuit did not name Taser International as one of the defendants, but the company has been a party in more than 70 wrongful death lawsuits which alleged that they failed to adequately warn of their weapons potential for being lethal.

Taser International has been extremely successful in defending itself in court, and has been dismissed from nearly all cases where they have been named as a defendant.

1 Comments

  • Taser Guns Linked to 334 Deaths by Amnesty International : AboutLawsuits.comDecember 17, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    [...] to Bloomberg News, Taser International is currently a party in at least 40 Taser gun wrongful death lawsuits or personal injury cases, and they have previously been dismissed from over 70 other [...]

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