There are two sides in every case, and in this case, there are two cases. Do you follow me? Well, both sides of an incident, the victim and the policeman, are both suing the state of New York in personal injury cases.
First I will discuss the victim's case. Iman Morales, a mentally ill man, fell to his death after receiving a Taser shock when he was ten feet off of the ground. He was standing naked outside of his mother's apartment building swinging an 8-foot-long florescent bulb. When the officers tried to subdue him with the Taser, he fell off of the side of the building and died.
His family's personal injury attorney is suing the city, Lt. Michael Pigott's estate and Officer Nicholas Marchesona. Their attorney is bringing as evidence the fact that it went against protocol to Taser a suspect when "a fall may cause substantial injury or death." Also, the officers Tasered Morales from the ground, so where were they when he fell? Not only was there no mattress or net set below him, but the people on the ground watched as Morales pitched forward and landed.
On the other hand, were the officers completely out of their rights to act as they did? Here was an emotionally disturbed man, who ripped a 8-foot-long light bulb out of the side of the building and brandished it as a weapon: swinging it and jabbing it at the officers. He also shouted, "I'm gonna take everyone with me! I'm gonna die and you're gonna die with me!" says one of the witnesses. He was clearly a danger threatening others physically and verbally, but was it absolutely necessary to Taser him before the air bag came? Or how about before the officers were done tying themselves to the fire escape so they could grab him without endangering themselves?
The only thing that is certain is that the family is in great mourning and the officer who ordered Morales to be Tasered was driven to suicide because of his grief. Their personal injury attorney is seeking $10 million total as well as a review of how the police are trained to use Tasers.
- Contact a Personal Injury Attorney (FindLaw)
- Taser Laws (Defense Products101)
- Taser Information (PopularMechanics)
- The Other Case: The Officer's Family Sues