North Carolina Wrongful Death Results in $10M Award Against Taser

July 20, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

A federal jury has awarded the family of Darryll Wayne Turner $10M against Taser International for the teenager’s North Carolina wrongful death. The 17-year-old died in March 2008 after he was Tasered by a cop at the grocery store where he was employed.

Police were called to the Food Lion to remove Turner, who had gotten into a dispute with a store manager. According to the family’s wrongful death complaint, even though Turner was never violent, an officer stunned him with a Taser twice—the first time for 37 seconds and the next time for 5 seconds—and the teen immediately went into cardiac arrest. His family says that his death was preventable.

According to court documents, the jury found that the Taser International did not provide sufficient warning or instruction about how to properly use the stun gun. Per the plaintiffs, if the officer that shocked had Turner had received the right training, he wouldn’t have aimed the stun gun at the center of the boy’s chest, which increased the risk of cardiac arrest, or he might have found another way to detain the teenager. Turner’s family has already settled their Charlotte, North Carolina wrongful death complaint, which alleges excessive use of police force, with the city of Charlotte for $625,000.

Taser intends to contest the verdict. It says that the verdict amount will be offset by the family’s settlement with the city, in addition to $40,000 in death benefits from North Carolina workers’ compensation. The $10 million wrongful death judgment accusing Taser of North Carolina products liability is the largest settlement against Taser, which until this civil lawsuit had won 127 of the 128 cases against it.

Serious injuries have been known to follow Taser-use, which is why it is important that law enforcement officers exercise caution and discretion when using a Taser to apprehend someone. They also must receive proper training on how to use them safely. As with all products, manufacturers must warn of any risks involved in using a product and provide proper and complete instructions.

NC family awarded $10M in lawsuit against Taser, WCNC, July 20, 2011

NC family awarded $10M in lawsuit against Taser, Blue Ridge Now, July 20, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Taser International

TASER safety study triggers questions, CBS News, May 10, 2011

Use of Taser by law enforcement agencies, (PDF)

More Blog Posts:

Charlotte, North Carolina Teenager Dies After Police Apprehend Him with Taser, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, March 23, 2008

Family Files North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit Over Inmate Who Was Tasered While in Jail, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, November 30, 2010

Kannapolis Man’s Lawsuit Accuses Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office of North Carolina Personal Injury, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, January 19, 2011



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