EUGENE, Ore. (CN) – A mother says police killed her schizophrenic son by Tasering him continuously for more than 2 minutes, then kneeling on his back as he lay facedown. Amnesty International reports that more than 350 people – most of them unarmed – have been killed by Tasers in the past 9 years.
Felisa Rold claims Salem police Officers Jacob Pratt, Daron Mumey, Adam Waite and Eric Brown killed her son Gregory in May 2009. She says her son had been eating lunch with her and his brother, and that he did not resist arrest until they shot him with the Taser.
Rold’s attorney says Officers Pratt and Mumey came to her apartment on May 23, 2009 in response to the apartment manager’s complaint about her schizophrenic son’s presence.
The manager had previously told Felisa Rold that he didn’t want her son around, said the attorney, Todd Peterson.
“He had a right to be there,” Peterson said. “There was no citation or court order or anything (barring his presence).”
Peterson said Gregory Rold had just come from a family celebration and stopped by his mother’s house to pick up some clothes.
“He was just sitting there by the window, smoking a cigarette, when he saw the police outside,” Peterson said.
Gregory let them in, and the police told him that he was under arrest, according to the federal complaint.
English was Rold’s second language. He was “slow to respond” Peterson said, because of his mental illness and because he was translating for his 75-year-old mother, who speaks little English.
Felicia Rold claims Officer Mumey Tasered her son without warning, and shot him 16 more times with the stun gun in the next 4 minutes.
Witnesses said the police used their Tasers “almost immediately” after entering the apartment, according to Peterson.
The police told Rold’s mother and brother to go into another room, “or else they would get Tased too,” Peterson said.
Rold says her son did not resist arrest until police had shocked him more than once.
When Officers Brown and Waite arrived, 17 minutes after Mumey and Pratt had stopped shocking Rold, Gregory Rold was leaning on a table, “not actively offering resistance,” according to the complaint.
Rold tried to run into another room in the apartment, and Brown allegedly shocked him two more times.
Then police repeatedly punched him in his side and hit him with a baton to the knees before pushing him onto his belly and handcuffing his arms behind his back, Rold’s mother says.
Rold weighed between 300 and 350 pounds. Police knelt on his back, crushing his lungs and trachea and suffocating him to death, according to the complaint.
“He was dead within 25 minutes of (the officers’) arrival,” Peterson said. “They turned something into a real tragedy that could have ended in a far different way.”
Rold’s mother demands punitive damages for wrongful death, negligence and civil rights violations.
In a report on Tasers, Amnesty International says it is concerned that police use of the supposedly nonlethal alternative to guns is becoming routine. Amnesty reported that at least 351 people have been killed by Tasers since 2001.