Verdict for Death After Taser Stun Gun Use Upheld on Appeal
An appeals court has upheld a jury’s decision to award $3 million to a Texas mother who filed a wrongful death lawsuit after her son was shocked 18 times with a Taser stun gun by police before dying.
The complaint was filed by Shirley Nagel, whose son, Joel Don Casey, died in 2005 while police were attempting to take him to a mental health institution.
Nagel sued Harris County, Texas, in 2009, accusing police of repeatedly stunning Casey while his hands and feet were bound, and was awarded $3 million. On June 8 a federal appeals court upheld that verdict.
Did You Know? Millions of Philips CPAP Machines Recalled
Philips DreamStation, CPAP and BiPAP machines sold in recent years may pose a risk of cancer, lung damage and other injuries.Learn More
The police brutality lawsuit claimed that excessive use of the Taser weapon caused Casey’s death, but a medical examiner claimed Casey died from heart disease and psychotic delirium from being restrained.
Pyschotic delirium is similar to a condition known as “excited delirium”, which is a controversial designation that is regularly cited as a cause of death for individuals apprehended by police who are acting in an irrational and hyperactive manner and subsequently die in custody. It only appears as a cause of death where police are involved in restraining an individual, and it is commonly cited following the use of Tasers by police.
Taser stun guns are designed to incapacitate neuromuscular function by delivering a shock that uses Electro-Muscular Disruption technology. Many law enforcement agencies have deployed the weapons to allow police to incapacitate someone who poses a threat, but there have also been a number of reports of overuse and abuse of the weapons, which could have fatal consequences.
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 International 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.
"*" indicates required fields
More Top Stories
A state judge overseeing a Philips CPAP machine lawsuit has been invited to attend a Science day being held for the federal litigation next month.
LifeCell faces a hernia mesh lawsuit after one of its Strattic Tissue Matrix mesh products failed in a South Carolina woman just a year after being implanted, requiring revision surgery.
The JPML has consolidated all Gardasil injury lawsuits before one federal judge in North Carolina for pretrial proceedings.