Heart attack man disputes Taser use
Friday 27th September 2013, 1:20PM BST.
A 23-year-old who suffered a heart attack when he was Tasered by police has disputed a report that found the use of the stun gun was justified.
James McCarthy is suing Merseyside Police after he was hit twice with a Taser at a hotel in Liverpool in September last year.
His solicitor Sophie Khan said: “James McCarthy does not accept the findings of the IPCC investigation. He disputes that the Taser use was justified.
“My client suffered a cardiac arrest as a result of the Taser and sustained a serious injury following the incident.
“Mr McCarthy is now pursuing a civil claim against Merseyside Police for damages. Mr McCarthy has asked for his privacy to be respected whilst he recovers for his injury.”
Police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said that use of the stun guns was justified, but that one of the officers involved should have more training.
The team was called to a Premier Inn in Albert Dock at around 2.50am on September 30 last year where a group of men were fighting.
Mr McCarthy was hit twice, including by one discharge that lasted 11 seconds, and suffered a cardiac arrest.
Because of the potential threat of violence, the IPCC found that using the stun guns was “proportionate and appropriate”, but that one officer was not aware of how long he was passing electric current through the Taser and there was a delay in checking whether Mr McCarthy was OK.
The IPCC said that medical staff told them that the cardiac arrest could have been caused by the Taser, but that the presence of cocaine and cannabis in his system and raised adrenaline levels could have contributed.
IPCC commissioner James Dipple-Johnstone said: “It is a difficult judgment to make in the heat of an incident, but it is important for public confidence that police officers are able to account for their decision to use force, including Taser, and that any force used against the public is at the minimum level required.
“In this case, officers responded to a violent situation involving a number of people. Our investigation found they had valid concerns for both their safety and that of the public and, as such, use of force including Taser was reasonable.
“However, our investigation did identify areas for improvement in how long the Taser was used for and how long it took for welfare checks to be made by officers when the subject of the Taser use was restrained and suffering a medical emergency. We have shared these with the police so that they can be considered in future training of officers.”