DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — The family of a man who died after being tased by DeKalb County police last year is now suing the county and three police officers.
Troy Robinson fell from an 8-foot wall he was scaling at the time the officer shot him with a Taser.
"An officer is not allowed to use the Taser against a suspect just because they're running away. And the officer is not allowed to use a Taser against a suspect when they're at an elevated height where they could fall and be injured," said Leighton Moore, one of the attorneys representing Robinson's family.
Robinson had been a passenger in a car officers stopped for a tag violation. He had committed no crime, but when DeKalb police officers asked him for identification, he ran.
Officers chased him, even as he scaled a chain link fence and approached a cement wall surrounding an apartment complex.
Officer Casey Benton told police department investigators he fired his Taser as Robinson was at the base of the wall climbing up.
Robinson's family says the Taser hit him as he was on top of the wall, causing him to fall head-first to the ground below. The fall broke his neck and then an officer went over and handcuffed him.
His attorneys say the original traffic stop was supposed to be for a tag violation, which didn't exist. The driver didn't even get a ticket. %
"The only thing that the driver and Mr. Robinson were guilty of was being African-American in South DeKalb. That's it. And that's a shame," said Mawuli Davis, also part of the family's legal team.
The wrongful-death lawsuit names DeKalb County, Officer Benton, another officer who was part of the chase and a third officer who handcuffed Robinson after he was gravely injured.
The DeKalb internal affairs report says the three officers were unable to render aid because they were forced to maintain control of a crowd that had formed.
The internal review disputes whether both Taser prongs actually hit Robinson. It cites several accounts that say Robinson continued fleeing before he fell.
The GBI investigated the case, but the report has not been made public because the case is still under review by the DeKalb district attorney, who plans to have a civil grand jury review the case to decide whether a criminal investigation is warranted.
"It's like it just happened yesterday. I'm still in mourning," said Mary Jo Bradley, Robinson's mother. "I'm here on behalf of my children, my family, most of all my grandchildren, to find justice for my son and for peace of mind."
Her family hopes the lawsuit will provide for Robinson's nine children.
"What a jury can't provide is a hug from a father. What a jury can't provide is a father showing up to a game or walking his daughter down the aisle," said Davis.
Cox Media Group