Taser lawsuit ultimately wants police reform

Jun 19, 2013

The family of a Cincinnati man who was Tased and then died last year, has filed suit against the City of North College Hill and one of its police officers.

Attorney Al Garhardstein, representing the family of Corey McGinnis Sr., says Sgt. Ryan Schrand hit McGinnis in the chest after an altercation at a basketball game. Gerhardstein says this happened more than two years after Taser International issued a warning to police to avoid the chest area.

Last fall a citizens group called for reform to local police Taser policies following a report from Gerhardstein. WVXU reported he made public records requests to 30 area departments and claimed most departments don't adequately warn that Taser shots can lead to death.

The 18-page report said 94 percent of department materials don't adequately warn that Tasers can capture the heart rhythm of the subject and that it could lead to death. It said two-thirds of departments permit upper chest shots despite manufacturer's warnings against it and one-third don't warn police officers about the risk of people falling when Tased.

The Hamilton County Chiefs of Police Association is in the process of drafting recommendations on Taser usage. North College Hill has not responded yet to this lawsuit.

Cincinnati now bans frontal Taser shots and is mandating more training for officers.