A lawsuit for tasing and punching a man who had just had an epileptic seizure has been settled for $90,000. In addition, the settlement mentioned a new policy on Taser use in Lakewood in the $300,000 lawsuit brought against the municipality, the police department, Chief Larry Saunders and four other officers.
According to Lt. David B. Guttu, the Taser policy changes listed in the settlement were not a direct result of the case. Under the new policy officers have to consider whether someone might have a medical condition, such as multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy or epilepsy, before using a taser on the person.
The case arose after Grider, 63, had a seizure and passed out at the auto parts store where he worked as a clerk. A co-worker called 911, an emergency medical crew was dispatched and the medics requested police aid, saying Grider had regained consciousness and was aggressive and threatening, according to a report by Officer Reynaldo Z. Punzalan.
The police report stated that Grider wouldn’t let the medics check him and resisted when the police officers tried to calm him and tell him he needed medical attention. He also continued to resist when he was stunned with a few 50,000 volt bursts. After this, Punzalan punched Grider in the face, handcuffed him, and had medics take him to the hospital. No criminal charges were filed against either party.
Grider claims that he told medics he didn’t need to go to the hospital and had made plans to get a ride home. He stated that he had seizures occasionally that he quickly recovered from without problems and did not need medical care.
But according to a police report, “Fire Department personnel told us they have dealt with Grider before, and he got very violent that time as well … they also told us he had to get medical help.”
Hostile behavior is not unusual when someone is recovering from a seizure, according to an Epilepsy Foundation report entitled Inappropriate Response to Seizures. “Accordingly, restraint of persons soon after a seizure may exacerbate or precipitate combativeness the opposite of the intended result,” according to the report.
For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Defective and Dangerous Products.