October 27, 2011

Taser Lawsuit: Martin Harrison (Dublin, CA)

I see that the family of 50-year old Martin Harrison filed a $20 million federal lawsuit as a legal response to his taser-related death back in August 2010. The lawsuit says that Harrison was the victim of excessive force by deputies, and his beating death in August was "brutal, malicious and done without just provocation or cause."

But Sheriff Greg Ahern said the deputies "used only the force needed to get the subject under control."

Harrison died at a hospital on Aug. 18, two days after the incident at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. The coroner determined that he had died of lack of oxygen to the brain due to cardiac arrest after the confrontation.

Harrison had been arrested by Oakland police for allegedly driving while intoxicated. On Aug. 16, Harrison began acting erratically, breaking a food tray and flooding his cell by overflowing his toilet. Deputies found Harrison hiding behind a mattress, and the inmate told them that someone was trying to kill him.

This blog looks forward to learning the outcome of the lawsuit. I think that it will take more successful civil lawsuits like this one to force police officers around the nation to reconsider taser use that results in weekly deaths.

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