Sheriff’s Deputy Defends Use Of Taser In Wrongful Death Lawsuit

FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — A Frederick County sheriff’s deputy takes the stand, defending his use of a Taser. Four years ago, he fired the weapon, killing a 20-year-old. Now the victim’s family seeks millions in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Adam May has the revealing testimony for court.

To be exact, the family is suing for $145 million. They’re claiming the officer misused the Taser.

The family of 20-year-old Jarrel Gray is suing a Frederick County sheriff’s deputy who fired a Taser, killing the young man.

“I want the police to think about it when they’re using that thing,” said Gray’s grandmother, Anna Thomas.

It started when residents in the Frederick neighborhood called 911, reporting a fight in the street of November 2007. In federal court, the responding deputy, Rudy Torres, told jurors Gray put his hands in his pants and he was yelling and out of control. But some eyewitnesses at the time dispute that.

“‘My hands are on the ground, officer. My hands are on the ground’ and they tasered him,” said eyewitness Sara Ismach.

Torres fired the weapon twice. In court, attorneys for the plaintiff asked, “You tased him for a second time when he was laying on the ground?” and the deputy replied, “That’s correct.” But Torres went on to testify he had no choice, claiming Gray refused to show his hands.

A recent report by the state’s attorney general found 10 Marylanders have died after being struck by Tasers. Twenty-four law enforcement agencies here use the weapon, firing them almost 1,400 times as of 2009.

Attorneys for the Gray family imply Torres was reckless. They’re also going after the department’s internal investigation, which found no wrongdoing.

Gray’s parents also claim their son had hearing problems so he may not have heard the commands.

The trial is expected to last about a week.


One Comment

  1. Jonathan Chiles says:

    145 million dollar lawsuit and then you add in the “SMALL DETAIL” that Gray’s parents also claim their son had hearing problems so he may not have heard the commands.
    He instructed the person to show their hands, and they didn’t. Everyday they risk their life, and I am sure at the end of the day – that police office/ sheriff’s deputy wants to go home to their family.
    Remember – in order to use the Taser, the sheriff also had to be Tasered.

    145 Million is outrageous.. Wonder how much the Lawyer gets ?

  2. Rustyschaos says:

    in order to use the Taser, the sheriff also had to be Tasered. that police office/ sheriff’s deputy wants to go home to their family. The victim didn’t. If the police keep in mind that someone may die if a taser is used they would use more smarts and less force. As long as Taser says these wepons are non leathal then the police will continue to use them for the fun of it. Tasers are deadly in some cases, you just don’t know what ones.More smarts, less force please. It is not always the victims fault.

  3. popo says:

    its never the “victims” fault….thats how people in this state always see it!! we dont hold anyone accountable anymore. its always the police fault? he was 20 yrs old..he knew what he was doing. if he’d of made a better decision, it would have never gotten that far.

  4. Mike says:

    Well if you don’t want the police to use the tazers they have been given, than let them use the guns they have.

    You can’t have it both ways. If you are involved in a scenario where an officer is telling you to show your hands and to get on the ground, and you see a tazer/gun in their hand, you are either really stupid or very arrogant to think they won’t use it.

    Don’t break the law and you won’t have to worry about possibly getting hurt or death by tazer.

    This family is a bunch of opportunists.

  5. brooke says:

    he did not derserve his life and tell me when drinking & fooling around with friends is a crime, if so everyone should be dead or locked up. my family is not opurtunist i am 15 my brother was taken froim me when i was 11 i still have nightmares till this day . you guys read this as money is what we want no we want the boy who we loved and new so much , that money means nouthing we want the point to get across cops do mess up and ,y brother was not guilty show some respect

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