Ohio Man’s Death Blamed on Akron-Area Cops

     (CN) — The family of a mentally ill man who died after two shot-gun shots claims in court that an Ohio police department acted with deliberate indifference to his medical needs.
     Jordn Lukas Miller’s estate sued the Akron suburb of Springfield Township, Police Chief John A. Smith and three members of his department in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas last week.
     Miller, 24, was in the midst of a mental-health crisis on Sept. 8, 2015, according to the lawsuit. His mother, Wendy Tomblin, called 911 and said her son needed immediate medical treatment.
     Tomblin reported that her son was suffering from “bipolar, ADD and OCD,” court records show. She added that she didn’t want police to hurt him, and that Miller was shirtless, shoeless and “needs to be in a psych ward really bad.”
     According to the Akron Beacon Journal, “neighbors summoned police to the area to complain about a man ‘running around naked’ and acting in a bizarre manner.”
     Miller entered a parked Jeep Cherokee and refused to move. Residents reported that he was trying to steal the vehicle, the Beacon Journal reported.
     According to the Sept. 2 lawsuit, “Officers [Robert] Scherer and [Joe] Holsopple opened the door and pulled Jordn Miller from the vehicle, where a struggle ensued while the officers forcefully restrained Jordn in a prone position on the ground, lifted the sweatshirt he was now wearing, and fired an X26 Taser into his back.”
     Miller was handcuffed and shot with a stun gun a second time before Sgt. Denise Moore stood on his upper back “as he struggled to breathe on the ground,” according to complaint.
     Miller lost consciousness and was taken to Akron City Hospital. He died two days later after suffering a severe brain injury from oxygen deprivation, his family says.
     The Springfield Township Police cleared Scherer, Holsopple and Moore of wrongdoing after an internal investigation, according to the lawsuit.
     Smith issued a statement calling for an independent investigation “in the spirit of maintaining transparency and integrity.”
     Police told Fox 8 in Cleveland that Miller had been abusing drugs for three days and had not slept. They added that Miller had bitten one of the officers before the stun gun was deployed.
     As administrator of Miller’s estate, Haydn Zeis asserted claims of assault and battery, wrongful death, excessive force, supervisory liability, failure to train and supervise, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
     Zeis also alleges the defendants violated Miller’s 14th Amendment rights through “deliberate indifference to serious medical needs.”
     Miller, who left behind an infant daughter, had been convicted of four felony drug charges earlier that year, according to the Beacon Journal.
     Attorney Michael Hill of the Cleveland law firm of Spangenberg Shibley and Liber LLP is representing Miller’s estate.
     Springfield Township did not immediately respond to requests for comment emailed Thursday.

%d bloggers like this: