January 24, 2011

Taser Lawsuit: Patrick Burns (Sangamon County, IL)

Sometimes it takes a financial jolt to get folks to change behavior. That is what the family of Patrick Burns hopes will happen to the Sangamon County Sheriff's Office. It is one of the reasons that the family has sued Sheriff Neil Williamson and several deputies, claiming that excessive force by the police led to Burns' death.
My brother is dead, and we believe as a result of flaws that exist in the system,” Richard Burns said in an interview. “If there wasn’t a wrongful death or excessive force, then 12 people can decide that — not me, not a judge.
The lawsuit seeks damages totaling more than $75,000.

Villagers may recall that Patrick Burns was tased 21 times last year when he was caught breaking into a woman's home.

Clad in underwear, Burns was outside the woman’s home sitting in a ditch when deputies arrived. Burns, an accountant for the state, had no criminal record, but he did have a history of bipolar disorder and he had cocaine in his system.

It is obvious to any reasonable person that pumping 50,000 volts of electricity 21 times will result in their death. Sangamon County coroner Susan Boone is not a 'reasonable person' as she feels that the tasers didn't kill him.

Boone ruled that Burns, 50, died from excited delirium, but his family says that she conducted an improper investigation. They are suing the coroner in an effort to get the manner of death on Burns’ death certificate changed from “undetermined” to “accidental.”

This blog thinks that the family has a strong lawsuit.
I wish that they had asked for more in damages than just $75,000. Sangamon County will end up settling this case out of court so that they don't have embarrassment of a legal loss.

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