CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A federal jury has awarded $10 million in damages to the family of Darryl Turner, 17, who died in 2008 after a police officer shocked him with a Taser.
Turner was arguing with his boss at the northeast Charlotte Food Lion where he worked in March 2008 when police were called. Surveillance video shows Turner arguing with a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officer, who fired his Taser twice at Turner's chest, holding the trigger for 37 seconds and then for 5. An autopsy found that the shock sent him into cardiac arrest, and Turner died.
Turner's family won a significant settlement from the city of Charlotte, and then filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company Taser in March 2010. The second suit accused Taser International of failing to provide adequate warning or instruction about the stun gun to Charlotte police, creating an unreasonably dangerous condition the company should have known about.
Hopefully, this verdict will sound the alarm to police officers around the world that firing these weapons into the chests of people should be avoided. No other family should have to endure the tragedy that the family of Darryl Turner experienced, the Turner's lawyer John Burton said.
The $10 million jury recommendation, which has not yet been certified by a judge, would be the largest settlement ever awarded in a case against Taser. A spokesperson for the Arizona-based company said Wednesday that the company had beaten 127 cases, and lost only one, before this week.
We can certainly understand how the jury felt deep compassion for Mr. Turner's family, and how that compassion may have overwhelmed the scientific evidence in this case, Doug Klint, President and General Counsel for Taser said. However, given the important nature of this case and the exclusion of key evidence that occurred, Taser International intends to appeal this verdict.
Taser will first ask the judge to override the jury with a judgment notwithstanding the verdict. It is also possible that the court could reduce the settlement amount, as it did in the previous case that assigned blame to Taser.