Friday, May 14, 2010

$2e6 in Fort Worth

Fort Worth is settling, for $2-million, a case in which a mentally ill man died after being tased for over 50 seconds. Per the standard operating procedure for most investigations of police activity in the US, the officer involved was cleared of wrongdoing and the city has not admitted liability. From the story:
FORT WORTH, TEXAS - The city of Fort Worth is offering $2 million to the family of a mentally ill man who died after being shocked by a Taser, even though the police officer involved has been cleared of wrongdoing.

Michael Patrick Jacobs, 24, died last year after being shocked for 54 seconds. The Tarrant County medical examiner's office ruled his death a homicide due to "application of conducted energy device."

In an effort to gain control, Cpl. Stephanie A. Phillips then shocked Jacobs twice with a city-issued Taser X26 Electronic Control Device, officials said. The first shock last for 49 seconds.

The second time for five seconds.

"The entire time I was yelling, 'You're killing my son; you're killing my son,'" his mother Charlotte Jacobs said.

The police officer who tased Jacobs, Stephanie Phillips, did not receive any discipline from the Fort Worth Police Department.

Fort Worth Police Chief Jeffery Halstead has defended Taser use, saying police shootings have dropped 30 percent in the eight years the city has used Tasers.

"The use of these devices provided a safer environment for officers dealing with possible violent situations," Halstead said last year.

The Jacobs family said this situation wasn't a violent one, and officers did not need to resort to using a Taser.

The $2 million offer could open up flood gates for other police tasing incidents. But the city of Fort Worth has not admitted liability in the case.

That's some expensive police work.