Suit Alleges that Middletown Police Misused Tasers, Killing City Man
The Estate of Efrain Carrion has filed suit in Middlesex Superior Court against a number of defendants, including the City of Middletown, its former acting Chief of Police, Patrick T. McMahon, and five City Police Officers. The complaint alleges that the defendants violated the late Mr. Carrion’s civil rights and caused his death two years ago on May 24, 2010, when Mr. Carrion was 35 years of age. According to the complaint, police officers Elias Martz, James Prokop and Christopher Lundberg discharged their Tasers and administered electroshocks to Mr. Carrion a combined total of 34 times while he was handcuffed for his own protection, and even though he never was arrested or charged with committing a crime.
According to the complaint, filed by Attorney Andrew W. Krevolin of the Hartford law firm of Rogin Nassau LLC on the day in question, the Middletown police were dispatched to Mr. Carrion’s home after a relative called 911 seeking medical attention for Mr. Carrion, who was experiencing psychiatric problems. When the police officers arrived, they found Mr. Carrion under a bed in his room, displaying signs of mental instability. At that time, Mr. Carrion, who had committed no crime and was never arrested, voluntarily came out from under the bed, rolled onto his stomach and permitted the officers to place handcuffs on his wrists with his hands behind his back. He calmly walked to a chair placed near the front door of his apartment but City of Middletown police officers refused to allow him to walk down the stairs to a waiting ambulance.
While still seated in his bedroom and waiting for the ambulance attendants to return with a gurney, Mr. Carrion began to move his hands toward his feet, apparently in an effort to get his handcuffed hands in front of him. At that point, defendants Martz and Prokop, both of whom were aware that Mr. Carrion had not been arrested and was unarmed, handcuffed and suffering from mental issues, almost simultaneously discharged their Tasers, each of which discharged a 50,000 volt shock, into Mr. Carrion’s body through prongs shot into his body. Less than one minute later, upon the instruction of Officer Douglas Clark, defendants Martz and Prokop again almost simultaneously discharged their Tasers, each of which again discharged a 50,000 volt shock to Mr. Carrion. When Mr. Carrion continued to try to move his arms from behind his back, the officers continued to repeatedly discharge their Tasers and, in addition, began to beat Mr. Carrion about his body with weapons and with their hands and fists.
Despite the extraordinary force and Tasering employed by the Middletown police officers, Mr. Carrion was able to bring his hands in front of his body and rip off his remaining clothing, thereby removing the prongs from his body. He was then naked and handcuffed when Officer Clark released his K-9 attack dog, which bit Mr. Carrion’s leg. Despite the presence of the defendant police officers, Mr. Carrion somehow then fell down the second-floor stairs and out the back door of the apartment building. He then crawled, naked and handcuffed, approximately 20 feet into a heavy thicket of brush and briars.
According to records generated by the Tasers themselves, while Mr. Carrion lay naked and handcuffed in the thicket, City of Middletown Officers Martz and Prokop used their Tasers to “drive stun” Mr. Carrion on multiple occasions for as long as 24 seconds at a time and often simultaneously. In addition, the K-9 unit continued to bite Mr. Carrion, and Officer Lundberg fired the prongs of his Taser weapon into Mr. Carrion’s naked buttocks and discharged it twice.
Thereafter, while still holding Mr. Carrion on the ground, the defendant officers eventually noticed that Mr. Carrion was no longer breathing. Emergency medical treatment was administered but Mr. Carrion was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to Attorney Krevolin, the Estate of Mr. Carrion filed suit against the City of Middletown, its former acting Chief of Police, Patrick T. McMahon and five City Police Officers, claiming that the police officers violated Mr. Carrion’s civil rights by inflicting unreasonable and excessive force upon Mr. Carrion. The complaint also alleges that the City of Middletown officers were negligent in various ways, including failing to treat Mr. Carrion as an individual who needed medical care rather than as a criminal, and utilizing their Tasers inconsistently with the instructions of Taser International, which manufactures the weapon. The claims against the City and former Acting Police Chief McMahon include claims that they knew that the City’s police officers would have to interact with individuals suffering from mental illness, mental impairments, mental syndromes and/or psychological issues, yet they failed to adopt a policy regarding this and/or failed to train or supervise their officers so that they could make appropriate decisions when dealing with these types of individuals.
The late Mr. Carrion’s wife can’t understand how a 911 call seeking medical attention for her otherwise healthy husband, who needed psychiatric care, resulted in him being Tased, deliberately attacked by a police K-9 unit, manhandled, and ultimately killed at the hands of the Middletown police. In a sad twist of fate, the family had moved to Middletown to seek better schools for their two children.
Mr. Carrion left a wife and two children, then aged 9 and 11, who lived with him in Middletown. The case was removed to federal district court on Monday, June 4, 2012.
For further information, contact Attorney Andrew Krevolin at (860) 256-6300
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