Two Texan police officers are being sued for using a Taser to shock a man who was having a seizure, causing the 50-year-old to suffer a heart attack and permanent brain damage.
Scott Sheeley filed a federal complaint last week in Austin, TX, requesting a jury trial against two police officer who shocked him with a Taser. In May, Sheeley unsuccessfully asked for a settlement of at least $1.5 million to cover the costs of medical fees, attorneys and emotional damages.
The case involves a police response to a 911 phone call last November. Police responded to a request for medical assistance for Sheeley, who was suffering a seizure at his home in Austin. When officers Chard Norman and Kevin Sederquest arrived at the man’s house, they allegedly used violence to restrict him from movement, constrained his ability to breathe and repeatedly shocked him with a Taser gun.
The officers controlled the man by “pushing a knee on his back while he was in handcuffs, causing his head to be pressed against the back cushion of the chair, all while he was still convulsing,” the brother of the victim, Dustin Sheeley wrote in a complaint against the state.
Police continued to Taser the man, even after the brother told them not to, and even after the convulsing man was handcuffed. The 50-year-old was left with wounds on his shoulder, back and under his left armpit.
When paramedics arrived, Sheeley was injected with Haldol and Ativan – drugs which are used to control psychotic disorders and anxiety and which can also cause seizures and sudden death, the plaintiff said. The victim then had a heart attack.
“As a result of being improperly restrained, in particular after concurrently having received Ativan and Haldol, the plaintiff suffered respiratory arrest and ceased breathing… As a result of the respiratory arrest, plaintiff suffered cardiac arrest,” reads the formal complaint against the officers.
It took paramedics 11 minutes to revive the man and bring back his pulse.
Sheeley says he suffers and continues to suffer from respiratory arrest, cardiac arrest, loss of heartbeat, loss of oxygen, Taser wounds to the torso, abrasions to knees and elbows, brain injury, loss of vision, headaches, broken ribs, physical pain, continued seizure and severe emotional anguish.
The man claims the police violated his Constitutional rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.
“Mr. Sheely’s injuries were severe and impact him daily,” defense attorney Leslie Lienemann wrote in the complaint. “He is still receiving medical care for a number of medical symptoms and will continue to do so.”