Police officers from two Chicago suburbs are being sued after one of them allegedly Tasered a man having a diabetic seizure because the diabetic involuntarily hit the officer while being taken to an ambulance.
Prospero Lassi, a 40-year-old employee of Southwest Airlines, filed the lawsuit (PDF) with a federal court in Chicago last week, following an April 9, 2009, incident in which Lassi was taken to hospital following a violent diabetic seizure — and being Tasered 11 times while unconscious.
That day, Lassi’s roommate found the man on the floor of his apartment having a seizure and foaming at the mouth, according to the statement filed with the court. The roommate called 911 for help, and police officers from the Brookfield and LaGrange Park police departments arrived to help with the situation.
As police officers were helping the paramedics move Lassi to an ambulance, Lassi — still in the midst of the seizure and described as “unresponsive” — involuntarily smacked one of the officers with his arm.
“Reacting to Mr. Lassi’s involuntary movement, one or more of the [officers] pushed Mr. Lassi to the ground, forcibly restraining him there,” the complaint states. “[LaGrange Park Officer Darren] Pedota then withdrew his Taser, an electroshock weapon that uses electrical current to disrupt a person’s control over his muscles, and electrocuted Mr. Lassi eleven times.
“Mr. Lassi remained immobile on the floor and was unable to defend himself during this attack. None of the other LaGrange and Brookfield Defendants attempted to interrupt Defendant Pedota’s repeated use of the Taser.”
The filing says that Lassi spent five days in hospital, and “as a result of this incident, Mr. Lassi has permanent scars on his skin, including a scar on his face. Mr. Lassi has also suffered, and continues to suffer, neurological and musculoskeletal injuries, among other injuries.”
According to Courthouse News, Lassi is seeking “punitive damages for battery, excessive force, and failure to intervene.”