A SWAT team used a Taser on a suicidal unarmed man, Fernando Coronado, in 2016.
Fernando has filed federal lawsuit against the two police officers who tased him. Fernando’s lawsuit claims that he hit his head on a stucco wall and a concrete floor, and suffered brain damage because of the tasing, notes The Salt Lake Tribune.
Fernando’s wife Tabeththa Coronado called 911 in hopes that a few police officers would show up because her mentally unstable 47-year-old husband was suicidal, but instead a heavily-armed SWAT team arrived in riot gear.
Tabeththa and her young son had left their apartment and were not in danger. Fernando was shirtless and unarmed when two officers used their Tasers on him, according to the federal lawsuit.
The lawsuit claims that Officers Kenneth Olsen and Jacob Hill violated Fernando’s constitutional rights by using unreasonable and excessive force.
Interim West Valley City Police Chief Colleen Nolen said the city will fight the lawsuit:
Mrs. Coronado reported that her husband was intoxicated, suicidal and making threats that he intended to kill himself and others.
Mrs. Coronado also alerted police that her husband had military training and had access to multiple weapons inside of their apartment.
The threat to the safety of surrounding apartments and open spaces necessitated an evacuation of the area and the call-out of West Valley City Police Department SWAT officers.
Nolen claimed that apolice negotiator spent hours talking with Fernando who exited his apartment, was ordered to get on the ground by SWAT officers, but refused to comply “and, in fact, rapidly advanced toward two officers who then deployed their tasers.”
Robert Sykes, one of the attorneys who represents the Coronados, countered:
He was totally unarmed and they could see it. His waistband was clearly visible, he had nothing in his hands.
Sykes said the SWAT response a “a gross overreaction.”
Chad McKay, another attorney representing the Coronados, said there were police snipers stationed.
Tabeththa said police knew the situation was a threat by her husband, who was holding a knife to his own throat, to harm himself.
Tabeththa added that she told a 911 dispatcher there was a gun in the home, but said that it was in a closet and the clip was out.
(Source: The Salt Lake Tribune)