December 23, 2009

Taser Lawsuit: Robert Mitchell (Warren MI)

Villagers may recall the taser-killing of Robert Mitchell. Mitchell, a Detroit Kettering High School sophomore, was killed by taser-torture in the abandoned home following a foot chase. He had fled from the car in which he was a passenger that Warren police stopped near Eight Mile and Schoenherr.

The police reports show at least three Warren and three Detroit officers were inside the house when an exhausted and unarmed Mitchell, who was sweating and breathing heavily, came down the stairs with his hands raised as officers instructed.

William Goodman, the attorney hired by the Mitchell family, claims that one of the officers grabbed Mitchell by the wrists moments before 50,000 volts of electricity were jolted into his body by a police taser gun. The officer let go of the one wrist he was still holding so his fellow officer could fire the taser at Mitchell. [SOURCE]

Goodman plans to amend a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in May -- adding details and counts of use of excessive force by specific officers based on police officers' reports about the April 10 incident.

"It's clear to us that the use of a Taser was excessive force," Goodman said. "They could have readily subdued him. There is nothing in the statements of any of these officers that suggest there was a need to Taser that kid."
Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer has defended his officers' actions and said in June that an internal investigation exonerated the officer who fired the taser gun.

An autopsy listed the cause of Mitchell's death as "indeterminate." The report identified a heart condition that was likely aggravated by the taser torture.

I'm glad that the Mitchell family is aggressively pursuing their lawsuit. I imagine that a large settlement in favor of a person tortured with a police taser gun may help to change police abuse of the 'use of force continuum' policy. Some villagers think that I shouldn't use the term 'torture' when discussing this issue. However, in this case we have a youngster who stood 5'2" tall ... weighed 130 pounds ... unarmed ... hands raised in surrender. Doesn't the term 'torture' seem appropriate in a situation in which six police officers used a taser gun on this youngster?

What say u?

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