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Wed June 3, 2009
MI Appeals court dismisses Tazer suit
By Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network
East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (MPRN) - The Michigan Court of Appeals has dismissed a lawsuit filed against 10 police officers and the manufacturer of the Tazer device. It was filed by the family of a man who died in police custody in 2003.
John Lee Thompson died two days after two separate altercations with police officers. One was at an apartment complex and the other was after he was inside the Saginaw County Jail. Both times officers used pepper spray and Tazers to subdue him.
Thompson's family sued on several counts, alleging among other things excessive use of force by 10 police officers who were not properly trained to use Tazers. The family also sued the Tazer company.
The appeals court found that the family did not definitively show it was Tazers that caused Thompson's death. It also held the officers were not reckless or excessive because Thompson fought back so hard, including kicking and clawing, and throwing a potted plant.
The case could be appealed to the state Supreme Court.