The family of a Texas man, who died last month after being stunned with a Taser stun gun, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the manufacturer of the weapon, as well as city and county law enforcement agencies for excessive force by the police.
The complaint was filed by the family of Raymond Luther Allen, 34, against Taser International, the Galveston County Sheriff’s Department and the Galveston police department. Allen died on February 29, two days after he was shocked by police with a Taser stun gun.
On February 27, witnesses indicate that Allen was seen jumping from a second-story balcony at the Beachcomber Inn. A sheriff’s deputy detained him for his own safety and called police. According to law enforcement agents, Allen resisted arrest on drunk and disorderly charges and was shocked with a Taser gun.
After recovering from the shock, he talked with officers, but later fell unconscious and stopped breathing. Emergency medical technicians resuscitated him be before taking Allen to the hospital, where he died two days later.
The Taser lawsuit accuses the police of excessive force and alleges that the Galveston Police Department has a history of covering up police brutality problems. The lawsuit also claims that the city failed to have a training program in place on how to use the guns properly. Taser International is targeted by claims that it manufactured and sold an unsafe device.
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. However, there have also been a number of reports of overuse and abuse of the weapons, which can have fatal consequences in some cases.
Taser International has maintained that their stun guns are non-lethal when used correctly, and has defended itself in a number of product liability lawsuits. However, hundreds of deaths have been linked to Taser gun use throughout the United States, leading Amnesty International and other groups to call for police forces to stop using them altogether or limit Taser use to life-threatening situations.