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Pennsylvania family sues after alleged Taser wrongful death

The family of a Vietnam veteran allegedly killed after being Tasered several times by police has filed a wrongful death suit in a Pennsylvania court. While some estimate that dozens of Taser-related deaths have occurred across the nation, this would reportedly be the first such Taser-related wrongful death suit in Pennsylvania courtrooms. Two of the deceased's adult children filed suit against state police agencies as well as Taser International, makers of the weapon that allegedly caused their father's wrongful death.

Both children want to see police departments change how they use Tasers, as well as changes to the way Taser International makes their products. While they seem to recognize that the use of Tasers can be appropriate in certain situations, they do not feel that was the case in their father's fatal accident.

The complaint claims that authorities also used pepper spray on their father when responding to a 911 call he made claiming that his bike had been stolen. It also alleges that police "hog-tied" him and stunned him several times with Tasers. All of these factors may have contributed to the man's subsequent cardiac dysrhythmia and death, although the wrongful death suit maintains that the Taser use was the main factor. The Pennsylvania's Attorney General's Office investigated the case but decided not to pursue criminal charges in connection with the man's alleged wrongful death.

Pennsylvania residents know how devastating it can be to lose a loved one in such a tragic incident as this one. In some situations, it may be appropriate to file a wrongful death suit similar to the one that the family of this man has chosen to file. While it doesn't bring back the loved one who was taken suddenly, it may lead to changes in public policy as well as the recovery monetary damages that can go toward medical bills and funeral costs.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Taser International, Lancaster-area police sued in death of Vietnam veteran," Saranac Hale Spencer, June 18, 2012

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