MASON, Ohio - The family of a Warren County man who died after a Taser incident is suing The City of Mason, Mason police, and two Mason police officers, accusing them of using excessive force that “is best described as torture,” according to the federal suit.
According to the suit, Douglas Boucher died December 13, 2009 after Mason Police officers Daniel Fry and Sean McCormick continually shocked him with their Tasers, a total of seven times.
“The abuse of Mr. Boucher while he was on the ground was nothing short of torture,” the civil rights case states.
Boucher’s family contends he was mentally ill and if police had listened to him rather than use force, he would be alive today.
The Butler County coroner ruled that Boucher died from injuries resulting from falling to the ground and hitting his head after being Tased, but said, “Of Course, it is impossible to completely rule out a terminal cardiac arrhythmia due to the Taser.”
The family’s attorney, Al Gerhardstein, says he is also concerned the Tasers used in the incident were never tested for their electrical output, something the National Institute of Justice suggests agencies do in death investigations involving Tasers.
Gerhardstein says he is also concerned the Tasers had not been spark tested before the incident, something the manufacturer says could cause the electrical output to vary.
Previous I-Team reports have uncovered that Tasers, which send electricity into the body to incapacitate, are not regulated, and are not required to be tested for their output, despite warnings from the manufacturer that output can vary, especially after years of wear and tear on the electronic control weapons.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio Western Division (Case No. 11-cv-861), states that the 39-year-old Boucher suffered from bipolar disorder and was in the midst of a “medical crisis” when he visited the Speedway gas station at 711 Reading Road in Mason.
A Speedway employee asked officers to remove Mr. Boucher from the store for allegedly making inappropriate remarks to her, according to the suit.
Mr. Boucher responded by apologizing to the Defendant officers and exited the building, according to the suit.
It was as Boucher was getting into his car to leave, the suit states that officers attempted to arrest him and a struggle eventually ensued.
According to the suit, the officers initially Tasered Boucher in the back, causing him to fall to the ground. The suit states that Boucher was unable to break his fall and was bleeding from a head injury as one of the officers continued to use the Taser on him five more times.
The suit seeks a jury trial to consider compensatory damages and punitive damages against the individual officers involved.
Officers Fry and McCormick have been previously cleared of wrong doing in the case.
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