Judge lets Cincinnati stun-gun death suit go forward
CINCINNATI -- A federal judge today refused to throw out a civil rights lawsuit in the case of an unarmed, mentally ill Ohio man who died during a confrontation with police after being shocked with a stun gun seven times, kicked and repeatedly struck with a baton - all mostly after he had fallen face-first onto cement and stopped moving.
Doug Boucher, 39, died after the Dec. 13, 2009, confrontation with two officers outside a convenience store in the Cincinnati suburb of Mason. Boucher had been stopped for allegedly making lewd comments to the store's 19-year-old female clerk.
Attorneys for the city of Mason had argued that the officers' actions were reasonable and justified, and that the lawsuit, filed by Boucher's parents, should be dropped.
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge S. Arthur Spiegel allowed allegations of excessive force, wrongful death and intentional infliction of emotional distress to stand.
He also denied the city's request to stop a forensic pathologist from testifying that he believes the repeated use of the stun gun caused Boucher's heart to fail.
"What gives the court pause is that (the officers) repeatedly tased Boucher in such manner that a jury might find he was subjected to gratuitous violence from officers that momentarily `lost it.'" Spiegel wrote.