The Metropolitan Police Committee on Fiscal Affairs on Monday unanimously approved the settlement in the federal civil rights lawsuit, which was filed by the family of Anthony Jones in 2012 and alleged wrongful death and the use of excessive force by officers.
“It means that Metro has acknowledged that these officers used excessive force,” said Peter Goldstein, the attorney representing Jones’ mother, Rosie Lee Mathews.
Jones, 44, died after the encounter with white police officers on Dec. 11, 2010.
“It brings sort of a closure, but all the money in the world can’t replace my baby,” Mathews said.
Court records show one of the officers deployed his Taser 10 times in 90 seconds, even as Jones was being handcuffed after he tried to flee a traffic stop in 2010. At the same another white officer also was tasing Jones. [MORE]
In the Jones family lawsuit, four officers were named as defendants. The lawsuit alleges unreasonable search and seizure, excessive force, false arrest, battery and negligence. The lawsuit says Tasers were used on Jones for more than 100 seconds. It says that before the encounter got physical, Jones was detained without probable cause and without reasonable suspicion. [MORE] Taser International Inc., the manufacturer, also was named as a defendant.
The lawsuits claim police also failed to provide prompt medical care.
On Dec. 11, 2010, police stopped Jones' Lexus sedan about 1 a.m. near Martin Luther King and Lake Mead boulevards allegedly because its headlights were off. During the stop, an officer noticed Jones acting erratically and asked him to step out of the vehicle. After an alleged altercation or argument , the officer drew his gun and Jones ran. Jones fled the scene on foot and was eventually taken down by Hatten and fellow officers Timothy English, Richard Fonbuena, and Steven Skenandore. The resulting attempt to take Jones into custody, where officer Hatten and English Tased the suspect over at least a dozen times in two minutes, resulted in his death. [MORE]
According to internal police reports, officer Mark Hatten fired his Taser 10 times for about 92 seconds. Officer Timothy English used his Taser twice for about 10 seconds. It was unclear how many of the Taser shots struck Jones, the reports said. The lawsuits claim police also failed to provide prompt medical care.
Goldstein said Jones did not fight with officer Hatten but was trying to escape the officer. What police called a “fight” in the police report was Hatten shocking Jones with a Taser and other officers trying to restrain him, Goldstein said. [MORE]
“I wouldn’t call that a fight in the sense of two people exchanging blows,” Goldstein.
The Clark County coroner’s office [run by racist suspects] said Jones died from cocaine and ethanol intoxication but that an enlarged heart and police restraining procedures contributed to his death, which was ruled a homicide.
Clark County prosecutors did not file criminal charges in Jones’ death.
Metro policy now restricts stun guns from being used for more than three 5-second cycles. The new policy also bars multiple officers from using their stun guns on a person at the same time.