Taser victim sues Austin for $1.5MPublished 9:36am Friday, October 5, 2012
AUSTIN — The man who alleges he was repeatedly shocked by a Taser while having a seizure last fall is suing the city of Austin, Gold Cross and two Austin police officers in U.S. District Court.
Scott Sheeley, 50, formerly of Austin, filed the federal complaint on Wednesday through his attorney, Leslie Lienemann, and a demand for a jury trial. Sheeley’s attorney originally filed a notice of claim against the city in May seeking a settlement of at least $1.5 million for medical fees, attorney costs and emotional damages. However, no settlement happened. Now, the amount of damages, if Sheeley wins his case, is to be determined at trial.
Sheeley is suing the defendants — including officers Kevin Sederquest and Chad Norman of the Austin Police Department — on grounds that they violated several of his constitutional rights under the Fourth and 14th amendments.
According to both sides in the case, officers responded to a medical call at 600 12th Ave. SW in Austin on Nov. 16, 2011, because Sheeley was having a seizure. However, Sheeley’s brother, who made the 911 call, said officers cuffed Sheeley and then shocked him multiple times with a Taser gun, according to Lienemann’s complaint.
The complaint adds Sheeley “suffered physical and emotional injuries, including permanent brain damage.”
“Mr. Sheeley’s injuries were severe and impact him daily,” Lienemann said. “He is still receiving medical care for a number of medical symptoms and will continue to do so.”
A statement by the Austin Police Department in June, on the other hand, claimed that Sheeley became violent when they arrived, was combative and trying to assault his brother.
“Once all the facts come out, we are convinced that the city and the officers will prevail,” said the defendants’ attorney, Dan Kurtz.
Gold Cross will be represented by a separate attorney, as it is not affiliated with the city.
Sheeley seeks damages from all parties for physical and emotional harm, medical expenses, attorney’s fees and violations of his constitutional rights, including excessive force, battery, and negligence/malpractice, among others.
It may take several months before the U.S. District Court of Minnesota hears the complaint and schedules a trial, according to attorneys.