A Texas man has filed a police brutality lawsuit against the police officer and police department that he says shot him with a Taser stun gun unnecessarily, as well as a product liability lawsuit against the company that manufactured the weapon.
The Taser lawsuit was filed on August 30 by Mark Anthony Hadnot, in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Lufkin Division. The lawsuit alleges that Officer John A. Fuller of the Woodville Police Department used unnecessary force when he stunned Hadnot in his home with a stun gun manufactured by Taser International.
Hadnot is claiming that the incident was a civil rights violation. According to a report by The Southeast Texas Record, Officer Fuller had been questioning Hadnot for several minutes in his home when he told the officer that he needed to use the restroom. When Hadnot stood to go relieve himself, Officer Fuller shot him with the Taser, delivering an electro-muscular shock that is designed to disrupt a person’s neuromuscular function.
The lawsuit accuses Officer Fuller of using unreasonable and excessive force in the situation. The police department allegedly failed to train or discipline its officers and failed to investigate claims of excessive force. The lawsuit also accuses Taser International of not informing officers that the Taser weapon was for self-defense only and not to be used as a means of forcing compliance, and for making a defective product that is capable of causing severe injury or death.
Hadnot is seeking compensation for physical and mental pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages, court costs and attorney fees.
Scottsdale, Arizona-based Taser International has vigorously defended the safety of their stun gun weapons, and is usually successful in having itself dismissed from lawsuits of this nature. Although the company has maintained that the charge delivered by the stun gun is not life-threatening, a number of deaths have occurred shortly after individuals have been Tasered.
In 2008, Amnesty International released a report on Taser police use, calling for departments throughout the United States to stop using Taser guns or to strictly limit their use to life-threatening situations. The human rights group linked 334 deaths to the use of Taser guns between 2001 and August 2008. Amnesty noted that 90% of the Taser deaths examined involved people who were unarmed and did not appear to present a serious threat to the officers. A large number of the fatalities involved misuse of the weapons, including multiple Taser shocks or exposing suspects to prolonged shocks.