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Man Dies After Chicago Police Use Stun Gun

Feb 11, 2005 | AP A man died after Chicago police used a Taser stun gun to subdue him Thursday, just days after a teenager was critically injured in a similar incident that prompted a lawsuit against the city.

Police said they used the stun gun when they were unable to restrain an unruly 54-year-old man who was fighting with officers at a high-rise building on the city's North Side Thursday afternoon.

The man went into cardiac arrest and later died, according to Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford. Authorities did not identify the man Thursday evening.

Police Cmdr. Michael Chasen said the man was trying to kick and bite officers and threatening to infect them with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

"'I'm going to kill you with my blood,'" Chasen quoted the man as saying.

The death came the same day an official with the Department of Children and Family Services sued the city and a police officer who used a stun gun on a 14-year-old boy on Monday. The boy, who also went into cardiac arrest, remained hospitalized Thursday night.

Police Superintendent Philip Cline defended the officers' use of the weapons at a news conference but said the department will delay plans to increase its number of stun guns.

"We remain confident that the use of Tasers in Chicago has made our streets, our citizens and our police safer," Cline said.

In Monday's incident, authorities were called to a group home after the teen injured his hand in a violent outburst. The Taser gun was used after he teen lunged at an officer, police said.

But Cook County Public Guardian Robert Harris said reports indicated the boy had already calmed down and was sitting on a couch when police arrived.

Jennifer Hoyle, a spokeswoman for the city's law department, said she could not comment on the lawsuit because city officials hadn't had a chance to review it.

Harris did not return a call seeking comment Thursday about the lawsuit or the teen's condition.

The stun weapons temporarily paralyze people with a 50,000-volt jolt delivered by two barbed darts whose current can penetrate clothing.

The Chicago City Council has voted to look into police alternatives to Taser guns in response to concerns about the stun guns' safety.

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