Claim alleges police force resulted in cardiac arrest, brain injury
An Austin man has filed a notice of claim against the city of Austin, alleging excessive force and battery by city police officers.
According to a release issued by Austin Police Chief Brian Krueger, the charges stem from an incident Nov. 16, 2011.
The notice of claim filed on behalf of Scott Sheeley, 49, reads in part, "despite clear knowledge that they had been called on a medical injury and that Sheeley was suffering a seizure, Officers Norman and Sederquest restrained Sheeley and repeatedly applied a taser to his torso in close proximity to his heart."
According to the police report filed in the incident, officers were called at 9:01 a.m. that day to 600 12th Ave. S.W. for a report of a 49-year-old male having a seizure.
Officers and Gold Cross Ambulance personnel arrived at the same time, the report says, walked inside, found no one on the main floor "but heard a commotion coming from the basement."
They went downstairs, where they saw Sheeley, half-naked from the waist down, "out of control, combative and assaulting his brother," the report says.
When officers attempted to restrain Sheeley, he continued to struggle, Krueger said. Sheeley was ordered to place his hands behind his back; each officer had one of Sheeley's arms in an attempt to handcuff him.
The two officers requested back-up, the report says, and after struggling two to three minutes, one of the officers was able to reach his taser to deliver several "dry" stuns to the left back shoulder area.
The officers again requested back-up; when two more officers arrived, they were able to handcuff Sheeley, Krueger said.
According to the report, paramedics checked Sheeley's pulse and breathing; about a minute after he'd been handcuffed, Gold Cross personnel administered a shot to calm Sheeley. Krueger did not know what type of medication was in the injection, he said.
Sheeley calmed down about a minute after receiving the shot; another minute later, the report continues, he went into cardiac arrest. Paramedics performed CPR, Krueger said, and a pulse was regained. Sheeley was taken by Gold Cross to Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin.
According to the notice of claim, Sheeley's injuries include cardiac arrest, loss of heartbeat, loss of oxygen, taser burns to the torso, brain injury, broken rib, pain and severe emotional anguish, as well as loss of income and continuing medical expenses relating to the injuries.
Sheeley's damages from the injury exceed $1.5 million, the notice says, and his medical expenses continue to accrue.
No charges were filed against Sheeley in the incident, Krueger said, but he declined further comment, pending litigation.