Parents Claim Cop Tasered Son to Death
CINCINNATI (CN) - A police officer killed a college student by Tasering him with an 11-second jolt to his chest, his parents claim in court.
Parents of the late Kevin Piskura claim Oxford police Officer Geoff Robinson wantonly killed their son in 2008 by Tasering for "11 continuous seconds" with a 50,000-volt stun gun. Kevin was a student at Ohio's Miami University.
Mary and Charles Piskura sued the City of Oxford, its Police Department, former Police Chief Stephan D. Schwein, and Officer Robinson,
Kevin died five days after Robinson gave him the enormous, lengthy jolt, his parents say in the federal complaint.
The complaint states: "On or about April 19, 2008 at approximately 2:00 a.m., the decedent, Kevin Piskura, was attending a Miami of Ohio University homecoming weekend and was a business invitee at the Brick Street Bar in Oxford, Ohio. While present, a verbal and/or physical altercation took place between the Brick Street Bar staff and various patrons.
"During the altercation, Officer Geoff Robinson responded to the scene and observed the decedent in a crowd outside the bar during an argument or altercation between bar staff and several patrons. At the scene defendant Robinson ordered the decedent to step back or back away. According to several witnesses, decedent attempted to comply with his orders but defendant Robinson suddenly and without justification discharged his X26 Electronic Control Device ('ECD') in probe mode striking the decedent in the chest with both ECD probes and subjecting the decedent to fifty thousand (50,000) volts of electricity for a period of eleven (11) continuous seconds.
"According to multiple independent witnesses at the scene, including the parent of a Miami of Ohio college student, the decedent was not a threat to the officers or other bystanders present."
Kevin's parents say that "as a direct result of receiving an eleven (11) second shock from the Taser device, decedent, Kevin Piskura, went into cardiac arrest and became unresponsive at the scene. Following the incident, Kevin Piskura was in need of emergency medical care due to his medical condition. Defendant Robinson and other officers of the City of Oxford Police Department displayed deliberate indifference to his condition and failed to timely provide or arrange for emergency medical care. Ultimately Piskura was transferred to a local hospital by ambulance, then life-flighted to a trauma center. The decedent was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit and subsequently died on April 24, 2008.
"As a consequence of this incident, the decedent's death was attributed to anoxic encephalopathy and multiple system organ failure after cardiac arrest due to the officers' use of excessive force including the firing of a Taser ECD."
The Piskuras seek compensatory and punitive damages for civil rights violations, wrongful death and deliberate indifference.
They are represented by W. Craig Bashein, with Bashein and Bashein, of Cleveland.
Amnesty International reported that 350 people were killed by Tasers in the United States from 2001 to 2008. Other rights groups claim the death toll from Tasers in the United States now exceeds 500.
Taser International continues to deny the allegations.