Sunday, May 16, 2010

$2 million settlement in Cowtown Taser-death case

Reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

The city of Fort Worth has offered a record $2 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of a man who was killed with a Taser during a confrontation with police last year.

The City Council is scheduled to vote on the settlement Tuesday, according to an agenda posted online Friday.

It's the biggest lawsuit settlement Fort Worth has ever offered in a case involving death or injury, Assistant City Attorney Gerald Pruitt said.

The city paid $750,000 to the families of four people who drowned in the Water Gardens in 2004, but that case was in state court, where there's a limit on damages that plaintiffs can win from a government entity.

"This is a civil-rights case; there's no cap," Pruitt said. The city is not admitting liability.

Brian Eberstein, an attorney for the slain man's family, said the size of the settlement shows that the city understands it has a problem.

In this case, the officer who fired the Taser said she forgot to take her finger off the trigger, shocking the suspect for 49 straight seconds, then 5 second more after that. In police jargon that's known as "riding the lightning" and it's tantamount to torture, though in this deadly case it was supposedly inadvertent. As was the case with a 72-year old great-grandma tazed by a deputy constable in Austin, the officer in this case tased the suspect essentially because he dared her to do so: "An investigation showed that Jacobs was unarmed and did not strike any of the officers. When one of the officers warned him that he would be Tasered, Jacobs started moving toward the officers, saying, 'Go ahead, I've always wanted to see what that feels like anyway.'"

Because of the risk of death, last year Taser advised agencies using their product to train officers not to shoot suspects in the chest.


rodsmith said...


"though in this deadly case it was supposedly inadvertent."

funny i though situations like this was the whole reason we added "involuntary Manslaughter crime to the books.

funny they have no problem charging parents when they do someting stupidy that results in a death to their own children or others. BUT for a cop it's NOTHING.

machine said...

How does a trained cop "forget"" to take her finger off the trigger for 49 straight seconds? INEXCUSABLE!!!

2 million ain't enough!!! The pig should do hardcore time in a max security prison! Still ain't enough...Tase her for 49 seconds. Still not enough...It will NEVER be enough, a man is dead because of abuse of power and authority and a blatent lack of respect for the community. Until cops start realizing they are PUBLIC SERVENTS - are paid to SERVE and PROTECT and must do so with the upmost respect for EVERYONE in the communities they serve - they do not deserve one ounce of respect.

And I am sorry, but it is the unprofessional behaviours of those few who do indeed ruin it for those who are respectful and professional (on and off duity). It is time for all police departments to stop hiding behind the blue sheild (its tarnished) and start acting professional by taking out their own trash.

R. Shackleford said...

I'm pretty sure that hiring the kind of imbecile who forgets to take her finger off the taser trigger is one of the many reasons your average guy on the street doesn't trust cops as far as he can throw 'em. This lady ought to be charged with manslaughter and locked the hell up. I'd also like to see her pay off the 2 million dollar debt she now has to the taxpayers. Not that either of these things will come to pass.

machine said...

In an earlier post I stated that "the pig should do hardcore time in a max security prison!" and to "...Tase her for 49 seconds." However the only way for TRUE justice to be served is first for the woman who killed the man to face the family and listen to their grievences against her and then spend the rest of her life trying to bring resolve and true peace to the family and the community.
I would like to hear from the woman who killed the man; not just "her side of the story" that's already documented in a police report. I would like to know how she feels regarding her actions and lack of integrity... What she thinks should be her pennance...Regardless of any official heiring that may result in a pardon,is she personally indebted to the family whom she raped.

What troubles me even more is how our justice system fails to ever seek resolve....Rather we have a lust for revenge,and we seek it with such furry, but never are we satisfied...War begot war begot eye for an eye and soon the whole world is blind.
Lastly the mans family may certainly be entitled to compansation, however it further punishes the community unless the family, the community, and its civil servants can all learn from this and other such tragidies and work towards a peaceful resolve.

Anonymous said...

Im sure there is poor behavior as with any profession. Not good and not right.
These comments seem extremely biased against law enforcement people. They go into possible dangerous situations. Even with a speeding ticket I behave calmly and follow directions.
You should not be aggressive or threatening ie yelling, cursing, posturing. Many (not all) probably respect no one but themselves.
File a complaint later. Please nevermind the irresponsible response that it may be disregarded. It happens to all of us, on the job, check out line etc. I never saw a video of someone tasered that was calm, followed direction. I'm sure one or more happened but not as common as some of these comments make it to be. I don't want to put myself in the situation to begin with. Sometimes we have to be responsible for our own responses and behavior.

Anonymous said...

Why do you say "they" and later "the few"?
What a hole ridden blanket!
Probably what acuse some of them of doing. No wonder we can never know the inention of everyone any of us encounter.

machine said...

To anon 6/2 9:47...

Yes I agree that we all can avoid problems by taking a passive attitude when dealing with the police...You seem to miss the point though. Police, though human, are trained to asscess and manage...A taser is ment to be used to control a bad situation "without fatality". Whatever the cops reason is for not taking her finger off the triger (for 49 seconds) it's not excusable and she should be removed from the force.
All too often, when police are accused of unnecessary force or behaviour unbecoming of an officer the police cheif steps in and says the incident is being investigated and that they do not condone such behaviour. However, when the evidence points towards proof of these matters...more often than not the accused is merely suspended for a brief period, thus condoning the behavior. In otherwords Police should be held to a much higher standard of ethics and profesionalism. A cops job is to "protect and serve" the community...The entire community!