Attorney files lawsuit against city in Taser-related death

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EAST POINT, Ga. - Only Channel 2 Action News has learned that police Tased a man in handcuffs up to 13 times before he died.

We’re learning about the department policies the officers allegedly violated during this deadly encounter.

Police records show two officers used their Tasers repeatedly to try to make Gregory Towns get up.

Thursday, Towns' family attorney, Chris Stewart, filed a lawsuit against the city of East Point.

“This is a direct violation of their own rules,” Stewart said. “You cannot use a Taser to escort or prod a subject.”

The lawsuit comes after the April death of Towns after he was  repeatedly "drive-stunned" with Tasers by East Point police in an apparent effort to make him get up and walk after a foot chase.
 
Stewart said he is using copies of the city's own documents to piece together what happened in behalf of Towns' family.
 
Stewart alleges records combined with eyewitness accounts show two officers violated the city's standard operating procedures for Tasers.
 
“He wasn't cursing. He wasn't being abusive. He was saying, ‘I’m tired,’” Stewart said.
 
Stewart said Taser logs, combined with other information from the city, show two officers triggered their Tasers 13 times around the time in question: 10 for Sgt. Marcus Eberhart and three times for officer Howard Weems.
 
Stewart acknowledged the documents don't show the Taser made contact for each of the 13 trigger pulls. He said officer accounts vary, but none comes close to 13 Taser stuns.
 
“This situation is indefensible,” Stewart said.
 
Dale Preiser, one of Weems' lawyers at the Police Benevolent Association, said Weems continues to appeal his firing and Weems's actions did not cause Towns' death, but he does not wish to respond to the Towns' family attorney's comments.
 
In a statement, Weems' lawyers have maintained, "use of drive stun to gain compliance is permitted under federal and Georgia law."
 
A spokesperson said the city does not comment on pending or potential litigation.
 
Channel 2’s Mark Winne spoke to a man he believed to be Eberhart by phone and he did not comment on the case.


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