The Ferguson Police Department was hit with two federal lawsuits on Wednesday over the alleged wrongful death of a man that had been "tasered," according to court documents. The two lawsuits came as the Missouri city's department faces outrage over the officer-involved shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. The New York Times first reported the lawsuits late Wednesday evening.
In the filings, the family of Ferguson resident Jason Moore alleges police responded to his residence at 6:46 a.m. on September 17, 2011. The family says when police arrived Moore “took his clothes off, ran completely naked down the street, yelling at passing vehicles and yelling 'God is good,' 'glory to God' and 'I am Jesus.'"
In one of the suits, Moore’s family says he was “suffering from a psychological disorder and demonstrated clear signs of mental illness.” They allege that the responding police officer used a Taser device on Moore and after he went to the ground the officer allegedly tasered Moore “at least three separate times.” The Times reported that the officer’s written account of the incident suggested Moore had moved aggressively at him and continued to charge at him after the initial tasering. Both suits say Moore stopped breathing at some point and was later pronounced dead at an area hospital.
According to the Times, “a lawyer for the family declined to comment, or to explain why it had taken three years to file the lawsuit.” The Ferguson Police Department referred questions to City of Ferguson officials, who declined to comment on the pending litigation early Thursday.
- Tom Winter and Michael Figliola
First published August 21 2014, 1:18 AM