Death Blamed on Incense & Police Beating
MEDFORD, Ore. (CN) - A 23-year-old man with schizophrenia died after smoking legally obtained Bizarro Incense, and police contributed to his death by kicking, Tasering and pepper-spraying him after his family called for help, the family claims in court.
Parents of the late Christoph Karl LaDue Jr. sued a welter of defendants for the Sept. 5, 2012 death of their son by cardiac arrest.
They claim their son bought the synthetic cannabinoid at defendant Sky High Smoke N' Accessories, in Medford, and then smoked it.
Here's what happened next, according to the federal lawsuit: "Almost immediately thereafter Karl developed a severe adverse reaction triggering symptoms of schizophrenia accompanied by symptoms of excited delirium, including the sensation of being on fire, profuse sweating, disorientation and inability to reason or act in his own self interest. Following a family member's 911 call for medical assistance, responding paramedics refused to render aid until Karl was taken into custody by law enforcement. Responding law enforcement officers used Tasers, pepper spray, kicks to the ribs and chest, control holds and handcuffs to restrain Karl for the purpose of taking Karl into custody for medical evaluation. As a consequence of the combination of Karl's ingestion of the synthetic cannabinoid, the failure of medical response and law enforcement to have a plan or protocol for addressing the needs of the mentally ill and the manner and duration of the detention and restraint process used to take custody of Karl, Karl went into sudden cardiac arrest and died."
Defendants include the cities of Talent and Phoenix, Jackson County, its Fire District No. 5, its Sheriff's Office, sheriff's and police officers, Sky High Smoke and its owners, and Zencense, which makes Bizarro Incense.
The family seeks damages for wrongful death, product liability, disability discrimination and civil rights violations. They are represented by David Park, with Elliott & Park, of Portland.