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Elderly man dies after being tased, family sues

Relatives of the elderly man who died in June 2012 after being tased by police are seeking financial compensation through a wrongful death suit. The Alzheimer's patient, age 77, struck his head on the pavement when he fell face-first after being assaulted by police. Family members filed the suit in April.

The victim was heavily afflicted with dementia and advanced-stage Alzheimer's disease. He was admitted to the Montana Veterans' Home in Columbia Falls in late May 2012, a facility that includes a 15-person specialized Alzheimer's unit. Just one day after he was admitted, the man wandered outside of the facility. He passed through the front gates and onto a nearby baseball field. The staff attempted to restrain the man, but he became aggressive. Employees called officers for assistance with the patient. The officers tried to get the man to move to a certain area on the field, but they tased him when he refused.

Emergency providers report that the man was handcuffed, face-down in the street. Medics provided immediate treatment for abrasions and cuts before transporting him to local emergency medical facilities for further evaluation. Even more disturbing, staff from the nursing home called to tell the family that the man had tripped while running; they did not take any responsibility for the incident or even indicate that police had been involved. The true story did not come out until two days after the injury.

The man died 23 days later because of injuries sustained during that incident. The suit is claiming that the city's police officers were negligent. Officers and nursing home staff are also accused of assault and battery, civil rights violations, medical malpractice and a variety of other claims. The family's attorneys are seeking money for medical and funeral expenses, along with pain and suffering and attorneys' fees. Relatives are also looking to recover punitive damages because of officers' excessive force with the elderly man.

Source: flatheadbeacon.com, "Lawsuit says 77-year-old veteran died after police tased him" Myers Reece, May. 01, 2013

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