A recent wrongful death case illustrates one of the dangers associated with the use of TASER guns – dangers that are becoming increasingly well known as TASER-related lawsuits proliferate.
A 77-year-old Korean War veteran named Stanley Downen, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, allegedly died within a few weeks after police used a TASER gun on him.
The lawsuit by Downen’s grand-daughter claims that staff from the veterans’ home, at which her grandfather resided, initially told her that he fell while running and had to be taken to the hospital, where he subsequently died.
Only later did she discover that police had used a TASER on him after nursing home staff had called them because Downen was in a highly agitated state, due to dementia. It had not been established at the time of suit whether Downen’s fatal injuries could have resulted from him falling after the TASER was fired, but the suit is reportedly moving forward against the stun gun maker.
While supporters of TASER guns say that they have stabilized many volatile situations, keeping violence from escalating, a growing number of advocates have noted instances of misuse or abuse of the device that have resulted in severe injury or death.
According to a report from Amnesty International, more than 500 people in the U.S. have died from the use of TASER guns since 2001. The manufacturer originally claimed that its stun guns were safe to use, causing no harmful damage to the human heart, but subsequent training manuals have reportedly noted an “extremely low” risk of heart consequences.
Dr. Kathy Magliato, heart surgeon and president of the American Heart Assocation for Los Angeles has reportedly contended that “the TASER is a weapon and it can kill people,” speaking out after a 50-year-old woman in Los Angeles went into cardiac arrest after being tasered in 2012.
Medical testimony also supported a recent $10 million jury verdict in favor of the family of a Charlotte, NC teenager who died after being shocked by a Charlotte policeman. The federal court jury returned the verdict for wrongful death of 17-year-old Darryl Turner, who collapsed and died in a Food Lion store in northeast Charlotte on March 20, 2008 after an alleged dispute between Turner and his manager led the police to use the Taser.
Other published reports of alleged abuse of TASER guns include:
- The use of a TASER on a Chicago woman who was 8-months pregnant and arguing about a parking violation;
- The use of a TASER on a 10-year-old boy in New Mexico who refused to follow an officer’s instructions;
- The use of a TASER on a 50-year-old Texas man who had a heart attack, resulting in permanent brain damage.
If you or a loved one has been harmed by a TASER device, please do not hesitate to contact our office at (312) 477-2500 to speak with one of our qualified personal injury attorneys. We can help you determine if and how you might have been harmed, and what damages and remedies you can pursue. You can also check out our Website for more information about our law firm, Cogan & Power, P.C.