Attorney: Cops' stun gun 'fried' client's mind

November 10, 2011 7:38:18 PM PST
A man who says he was tortured by police officers using a stun gun during a traffic stop has filed a federal lawsuit against the officers and the Chicago Police Department.

Josue Tapia was hospitalized for days with injuries he suffered during the incident.

In May of 2010, Tapia was stopped by Chicago police officers for a minor traffic offense at 43rd and Paulina and later released. Minutes later, the police computer showed that a J. Tapia, 12 years older, 30 pounds lighter, 6 inches smaller and living 40 miles away, had an outstanding warrant. Officers stopped Tapia again and, according to official records and hospital photographs and hospital photographs, used a stun gun 11 times to subdue him.

A jury recently found Tapia not guilty of all charges that stemmed from his arrest.

His lawyer said Tapia was electrocuted and treated worse than an animal.

"They completely had him wrong. And our allegations are the officer went up to my client's car and pulled him out of the car, pushed him up to the side of the car and then threw him to the ground...Our client was actually Tasered 11 times in a row. So when I say 11 times in a row, what I mean is for five to six seconds electricity was passing through his body, as confirmed by the medical evidence, 11 times in a row within four minutes," said Blake Horowitz, Tapia's lawyer.

Tapia says the officers' actions changed his ability to function normally. Tapia's wife and two nephews were with him at the time of the incident.

"It was just like a lot of pain everywhere, every inch of my body was being brutalized. I didn't understand why the police officers were treating me that way...I am not able to work, I have complications," said Tapia.

"I was screaming and crying and I was telling them to please leave him alone, leave him alone. It just felt like a nightmare," said Marilyn Tapia, wife. "They just kept cursing me out and telling me to go away or they were going to arrest me."

"It was a case of Tasering him over and over and over and over again in a horrific way. And it literally fried him. It fried his mind," said Horowitz.

Tapia says he is thankful that he was vindicated and the charges against him were dropped. His lawyers say the officers claimed that Tapia was able to withstand the repeated use of a stun gun because he was under the influence of alcohol or PCP.

"When he went to the emergency room, they ran a complete tox screen on him for all drugs and alcohol and it was completely negative," said Dennis Giovannini, Tapia's laywer. "This whole situation was the blatant cover-up that the officers came up with after they realized that they had Tasered and beat up the wrong person."

"It is just hard for me to trust anybody now," said Tapia.

Tapia says he is in constant pain and worries about what the future holds for him and his family.

The city law department has not return ABC7's calls for a comment on the lawsuit.


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