Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Cincinnati Police say the officer who used a Taser on a robbery suspect Monday night followed department policy.


The family of a man who died after being Tased by Hamilton County Sheriff's deputies is suing the county. The federal civil rights and wrongful death suit alleges deputies acted unreasonably.

Attorney Al Gerhardstein says Gary Roell, Sr. was experiencing a mental health emergency when he was Tased six times.

"This case has aspects of failure to train, failure to have proper policies for encountering mentally ill citizens, as well as improper Taser use," says Gerhardstein.

Taser International

It was this report, released by attorney Al Gerhardstein a year ago, that helped prompt the Hamilton County Association of Chiefs of Police to study Tasers and issue a guidance report. Chairman of the committee that wrote the report, Joseph Lally, stresses his group did not have any intention of establishing a blanket policy.


Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil says deputies who used a Taser early Tuesday morning to subdue a man resisting arrest appear to have followed department protocols.

59-year-old Gary Roell stopped breathing after the incident and was pronounced dead at Bethesda North Hospital.

"These are instances where you are justified in deploying a Taser: in protection of others, including yourself; and to meet the resistance of someone who is not complying, who is resisting arrest, to gain control of the situation," says Neil.


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.

WVXU file photo

The family of a man who died after being tased by a University of Cincinnati police officer has settled its claims with the university and officer Richard Haas.  After Everette Howard Jr. died in August 2011, UC police took all of their Tasers out of service. 

It was just last week a Cincinnati attorney released a report critical of Taser usage by area police departments. Now those departments are forming a task force to get more information.

The 18 page report from attorney Al Gerhardstein criticized the departments for not banning upper chest shots, and not adequately warning that Tasers can lead to death. Gerhardstein's firm is representing the family of Everette Howard, one of four local Taser deaths in the past four years.

A Cincinnati law firm representing one of four Taser victims in the past four years in Hamilton County is out with a new report it hopes will prompt police agencies to change the way they use the weapon.

Taser International website

The Cincinnati Police Department’s use of force policy is being updated, specifically the sections dealing with Taser use.

City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr. outlined the changes Monday in a memo to Mayor Mark Mallory and Council Members.

The city’s Law Department worked with the Police Department on the changes.

Ann Thompson

Cincinnati's police chief reports the department's new Taser policy should be released in a couple of weeks. 

But James Craig said there's no discussion about of not using them.

“You discontinue use of the Taser, what’s the alternative?” Craig said.  “We don’t want officers hurt, they need to overcome resistance of an aggressive suspect, so that means side handle batons or straight sticks and again they create and cause more injury to suspects.”