North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit Names City of Morganton and Three Officers as Defendants

November 16, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

The sister of a man who died after being Tasered in 2007 is suing the city of Morganton and three Department of Public Safety officers for his North Carolina wrongful death. Pamela Carroll wants the case to go to trial.

Her brother, Donald Grant Clarke, sustained brain injuries when he fell into a concrete porch after the officers Tasered him. According to Carroll’s wrongful death complaint, Capt. Richard Brendle, Sgt. Charles William Perry, and Officer Justin Lerch violated Taser use standards and Morganton’s Taser policy when the stun gun was used on Clark, who they did not actually see commit any crime. Carroll also claims that the men used the stun guns offensively and not defensively.

Per Carroll’s North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit, a neighbor of Clarke’s contacted police on October 13, 2007 and reported that Clarke had made threats to him. When Davis arrived in response to the call, Clarke had already gone home. The person who called authorities did not request that they arrest his neighbor.

Video footage, however, shows Perry and Lerch using their Taser on Clarke, who asked them why they were at his residence. Clarke did not go into his home even though police directed him to do so. The lawsuit contends that the officers Tasered him on the back as he was going back to home’s elevated porch.

Davis filed a police report noting that Clarke made threats to the cops, who decided to arrest him for making threats, and obstructing, delaying, and resisting arrest. Davis says the officers used their Tasers on Clarke because he resisted arrest. No criminal charges were filed against the officers over the incident

Taser Injury Lawsuits
While many police officers throughout the US are authorized to use Tasers in certain situations, there have been concerns over the number of injuries that have occurred because cops opted to Taser someone. In certain incidents, Tasers have been known to cause electrical injuries, dart entry wounds, eye injuries, cardiac arrest, miscarriage, and death.

Tasers have also been linked to excessive use of force by certain police officers. Any kind of police brutality, whether verbal, physical, psychological, or emotional, is illegal.

Lawsuit: officers responsible for death, Morganton, November 15, 2009

After the Zap: Taser Injuries and How to Treat Them, National Commission on Correctional Healthcare

Related Web Resources:
Police study Taser policy, Winston-Salem Journal, November 1, 2009

Taser Inc.


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