$1.5M lawsuit possible after tasering

Published 10:16 am Thursday, June 7, 2012

St. Paul man may seek damages after police restrained him during medical call

A 49-year-old St. Paul man claims that Austin police officers repeatedly tasered him while he suffered a seizure last November.

The man seeks more than $1.5 million in compensation. He claims two officers caused him cardiac arrest, taser burns to his torso, abrasions to the knees and elbows, brain injury, loss of vision, headaches, a broken rib and severe emotional anguish, according to the notice of claim his attorney gave to the city of Austin on May 14.

According to the police report, Gold Cross EMTs and the Austin Police Department went to the 600 block of 12th Ave. SW on Nov. 16, 2011, on a report that a 49-year-old man was having a seizure. However, the police report states that when they entered the basement, the man was not having a seizure. Instead, officers reportedly found him out of control, combative and assaulting another person.

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Police Chief Brian Krueger added that personnel from Gold Cross and the Austin Police Department — four people in all — were at the home at the same time.

Krueger said officers were unable to restrain the man and twice called for backup. The two officers reportedly grabbed the man by each arm and were unable to handcuff him. One officer said it seemed as if the man had “superhuman strength.”

After two to three minutes, an officer gave the man several stuns to the shoulder with a stun gun, according to the report. A third officer arrived and was able to cuff the suspect, and a total of four officers were eventually on the scene. EMTs then reportedly gave the man an injection to calm him down; however, the man became unresponsive and lost heartbeat. EMTs gave CPR and were able to find a pulse, and they took him to Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin.

No criminal charges were filed against the man. His attorney will not make further comment at this point. A notice of claim means no litigation has yet been brought against the city.