The family of Ryan Meyers is suing Baltimore County police and three cops for Maryland wrongful death. They are seeking $10 million in compensation and alleging negligence and police brutality.
Meyers is bipolar. The 40-year-old died after cops, who arrived at his parents’ home following a 911 call, tasered him. Meyers had been allegedly using a baseball bat to attack people, and his father was injured.
According to the officers, they tasered him because he ignored their order to put down the bat. Meyers went down but then got up and allegedly tried to attack them. They managed to handcuff him and then saw that he was unresponsive. He went into cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Meyer’s family believes that the police officers could have used less force to apprehend him.
According to one study published in 2006 by the American College of Cardiology Foundation, even though getting struck by a Taser won’t likely cause cardiac arrest, it is recommended that Taser darts not be fired close to the heart. Seeing as this study was funded by Taser International, the manufacturer has known about this possible risk from some time.
Another man, Steven Butler, went into immediate cardiac arrest after he was tasered by cops. EMT’s were able to revive him, but his brain didn’t get oxygen for such a long time that he is now permanently disabled. He and his family are suing Taser International for products liability.
In the last six years, there have been 8 Maryland taser deaths involving police. The stun gun shoots about 50,000 volts of electricity into the skin and is considered a less lethal alternative to shooting someone. However, medical experts say that getting struck near the chest by a Taser dart can make the target’s heartbeat go from 72 beats per minute to up to 220 beats a minute.
Meantime, Taser maintains that its electronic control device is safe for use.
Family Sues Police After Fatal Taser Shot, WJZ, March 5, 2010
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