In Frederick County, Maryland, the family of Jarrel Gray, the 20-year-old man who died last year after he was shocked with a police Taser twice is suing the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, and Corporal Torres for Gray’s wrongful death.
Jeffrey Gray and Tanya Thomas are the plaintiffs in the Maryland wrongful death lawsuit. They are asking for $145 million. Thomas says that Torres and her son knew each other. She is accusing Torres of going too far by using the device on her son.
Gray was legally drunk during an altercation, and Torres was called to the scene to intervene. Maryland’s medical examiner’s office says that Gray’s cause of death was sudden death connected to alcohol intoxication and restraint.
On May 9, a Frederick County grand jury ruled that Torres was justified in using a Taser to apprehend Gray, who did not follow the command to show his hands to the corporal.
Gray’s family and the NAACP, however, remain skeptical. The NAACP wants the Department of Justice and the Maryland Attorney General to conduct a civil rights probe into the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office use of Tasers. The NAACP also wants the Sheriff’s Office to stop using Tasers until after such a review.
Although an independent study by the Wake Forest University School of Medicine found that Taser use by police usually results in a low incidence of serious injuries, there have been numerous incidents across the United States where Taser use to apprehend a suspect has resulted in serious injury or death.
There is also the question of when using a Taser is appropriate and whether in certain incidents, police officers have abused their authority by using the device unnecessarily. A Taser is supposed to be a non-lethal defense device that delivers an electric shock to the target that is supposed to incapacitate his or her neuromuscular system.
If you were injured or someone you love died because a police officer used excessive violence, you may have grounds to file a Maryland police brutality or wrongful death case against the negligent party.
Family seeks $145 million for death of man in Taser case, BaltimoreSun.com, May 29, 2008
Taser probe nears end, but doubt lingers, Gazette.Net, May 15, 2008
Study Suggests Taser Use By US Police Is Safe, Medical News Today.com, October 9, 2007
Related Web Resources:
Taser Concerns Grow As Death, Injuries Mount, The New Standard, February 17, 2005
Frederick County Sheriff’s Office
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