Utah Taser Death Claim Settled

December 31, 2012

A settlement has been reached in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of an Arizona man who died in 2009 after a southern Utah police officer shocked him with a Taser, lawyers for both sides said.

The parties entered into a “mutual general settlement agreement and release of all claims” in the suit over the death of Brian Cardall, of Flagstaff, Ariz., according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

While a federal judge earlier ruled the case could proceed to trial, the parties released a joint statement last Friday that said a settlement was in the best interests of all, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The settlement included dropping Hurricane Police Chief Lynn Excell and police Officer Kenneth Thompson from the case. The city of Hurricane also was sued.

“The ultimate outcome in this case would have required a jury to consider many facts, a number of which are in dispute,” the statement says. “After a full consideration of all the factors involved, the parties are satisfied that the settlement reached in this case represents a prudent assessment of risks of going to trial and the implications that the burdens of trial would have for everyone involved.”

The family contends police used excessive force on the 32-year-old Cardall, who was running naked along state Route 59 in June 2009.

Cardall, who suffered from bipolar disorder, and his wife had pulled over their vehicle to the side of the road so he could take his medication. But before it took effect, he took off his clothes and ran onto the highway.

An autopsy found Cardall died from heart irregularities after he was hit twice with a Taser. Barbs from the Taser struck Cardall in the left chest, over his heart.

A Taser, a type of stun gun, shoots a probe that delivers an electric shock.

Cardall was a doctoral student at Northern Arizona University at the time.

The Washington County attorney’s office decided not to prosecute Thompson, saying he acted in accordance with his training.

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