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Connecticut man sues town and police after Taser use

Facts surrounding an arrest can be questionable. Respect for the police or other authority should be a given. However, when criminal charges are made or pending, residents of Windham County have the right to certain protections. To that end, proper procedures must be followed. Police officers must be well trained and capable of the best judgment possible in handling any situation.

Criminal defense isn't necessary for a local man, since the police have decided not to arrest him. Charges were avoided because an epileptic seizure allegedly affected the man's behavior. In 2012, a single-car accident was reportedly the result of the driver experiencing a seizure. Emergency responders arrived to find him unresponsive. According to his sister, a passenger in the car, he has suffered from epilepsy since age 18. He filed a lawsuit against the town, two officers and others. Allegations included battery charges and supervisory liability.

According to the claims, the police officers on the scene demanded the driver get out of the car, but he stayed slumped over the steering wheel. The allegedly unnecessary use of a Taser on the man's neck caused a violent response, including a bite to the arm of one of the officers. Two more Taser probes ensued.

A careful review of all the facts is always necessary. The police report of the incident differs in what happened. It states, for example, that for over 10 minutes, officers tried to get the plaintiff to exit the car. He finally did, but erratic and violent behavior resulted in the Taser shots to subdue the man's alleged assault on the officers. Once they had him in control, he was handcuffed and able to be transported.

The circumstances involved led the police to decide against filing criminal charges. Even without arrest, long-term consequences of both the safety of the suspect and lasting results of the Taser require evaluation. Was there excessive force used? Were the police officers properly trained to handle illness-induced violence or agitation? These and other questions will be considered by the court, and a better understanding of the incident will benefit everyone.

Source: Nhregister.com, "Epileptic man files suit against Hamden police over use of Taser" Ebony Walmsley, Jan. 26, 2014

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