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Comments about ‘Wrongful death lawsuit in taser incident settled by family, Hurricane’

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Published: Saturday, Dec. 29 2012 4:10 p.m. MST

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Cinci Man
FT MITCHELL, KY

This was a tragic situation that ended unnecessarily in the death of Mr. Cardall. It reminds me of a man in Phoenix whose teenage son was having an episode in their home. The father called 911 so that an officer could ensure the safety of the family during the episode, thinking that it would play itself out at some point. An impatient officer pulled out his pistol and shot the teen when he waived a knife while cowering in a corner, screaming at everyone to not come near him and to leave him alone. The officer reasoned that since he had a knife, the teen was a threat to himself and others, so the best thing he could do is to shoot the teen dead. I realize that officers are placed in risky situations often, but in these two cases, they simply blew it with unsound judgement. What a tragedy. And thanks to the gazillions of times that officers handle things with good judgement.

AlanSutton
Salt Lake City, UT

Now that the case is settled, my only hope is that Hurricane police now know more about handling cases such as this one. When a "suspect" suffers from mental illness and is unarmed, the last thing an officer should do is to use a weapon, even a weapon like a Taser.

All the best to the Cardall family and others like them who have loved ones who suffer from mental illness.

James1105
BOAZ, AL

Well written article, Emiley Morgan! Thanks for letting us finally know what happened in this very sad case!

I find it amazing that police departments STILL use the Taser when it is know that the TASER, in and by itself, kills a small percentage of the people it is used upon. WHY??? Because it is better that 1% of the people DIE rather than an officer be hurt?

Was this guy so scary that he had to be shot with a Taser rather than be wrestled to the ground and cuffed? He was naked, so he had no weapons! And, there was another officer there to help get him cuffed!

Oh, and what about officers mistakenly grabbing their guns and shooting people instead of grabbing their TASER? Happened on that boy at the subway station.

Remove Tasers from the arsenal of weapons Police Officers can use!

James1105
BOAZ, AL

My heart goes out to the Cardall family who suffered such a terrible tragedy through this NEEDLESS killing! What a beautiful family!

Over 500 people have died as a direct result of being Tased by police officers. Not incidentally, but the Tasers killed the people itself. Many large police departments have banned them, yet most still use them.

Perhaps the other police departments around the country need to be sued until they stop using TASERS. 500 Taser deaths is not a small number.

DanO
Mission Viejo, CA

Does anyone else think that the citizens of Hurricane deserve to know what the settlement actually was? If the city made a payment, the people deserve to know. Otherwise, it sounds like the city is avoiding responsibility to its own people.

sammyg
Springville, UT

DanO

It would be my guess that the settlement, because it involved employee liability, would be covered by an insurance company thus avoiding any line on a city ledger.

DanO
Mission Viejo, CA

sammyg, possibly, if they don't self insure like many cities do. It's rare for a settlement to be confidential when it involves a municipality.

Elcapitan
Ivins, UT

Over reaction by the police caused the loss of the father to this good family. He needed help or other forms of restraint. He was unarmed and not able to inflict harm with two officers present they could have subdued him in a more humane way. Sorry for all concerned.

Jack
Aurora, CO

Perhaps a different perspective would be in order. Prior to Tasers, there were only contact weapons like batons and flails. When the Taser was first introduced, it was marketed as a more humane way of subduing a combative subject, much like Mr Cardall. Being naked and not having a visible weapon does not make him harmless as such episodes also involve a lack of pain stimulus; meaning he could be struck many times with a baton, and not feel it. Police officers are not mind-readers and cannot know every nuance of every person. They must act based on the actions and facts before them. You all can arm-chair quarterback all you want to, but you have the luxury of time and all the information gathered after the fact. The officers didn't have that. Sadly, Mr Cardall died, never a good outcome, but with a baton he owuld have had many more injuries and possibly dead as well

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

It is indeed a tragedy that this young man died. But did anyone think that the police might have been acting to actually save him from injury or death? It seemed he was having a psychotic episode, and if I understand things, this happened road side. Just giving the benefit of the doubt to the police officer(s), but perhaps they wanted to subdue him quickly so he didn't run out in traffic striking a car. How would that driver of that car feel for the rest of his life had he struck Cardall and killed or injured him, even if it wasn't his fault? And if the police just let him run around until he "calmed down" would they not be negligent if his actions caused injury or death because of their inactions?

Jack above is correct. Tasers have become a standard use tool for police officers because batons or even hand to hand combat can produce more injuries not only to the police officers but the assailants themselves. It is rare but sometimes tasers can cause death but for the most part they are better than using a baton, hand-to-hand techniques or a gun.

Cinci Man
FT MITCHELL, KY

Jack and Howard. You bring up some good points, but let's take a look at other alternatives. You suggest that he might have run into the road and been struck by a car. It seems reasonable that the officers can put out extreme danger warnings such as flashing lights on their cruisers, flares to slow down traffic in the immediate area until more officers can arrive to direct traffic to slower, safer speeds. You also seem to focus on the apparent alternative to clubbing him into submission. When the mentally ill are having an episode, it does not mandate clubbing, subduing, Tasering, or any other violence against the ill person. Frequently episodes can pass with time, or doctor's, spouse, or other family intervention using calm talking. No matter how you slice it, police officers need better, more complete training in handling these situations. Never, in a situation exactly like this one, should the Taser have been used at the point it was used. Can you at least agree with that?

Cinci Man
FT MITCHELL, KY

Dwayne.
I remember reading once that the training manuals for police officers do not offer the idea of shooting a person with the intent of subduing him. Guns are used by officers because there is the threat of the loss of the life of another, so officers are trained to shoot to kill. That removes the threat. Can anyone speak to this idea? Are there situations where, by training, officers shoot a gun to subdue? And I ask if shooting a mentally ill person would have much of a chance at subduing a person. It's an interesting idea, but I have to wonder if officers can make a judgement in that regard with any greater accuracy than they can with the Taser alternative. It's good to have this conversation, but as we do so, my heart still goes out to the Cardall family who lost a loved one needlessly, it seems.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

dwayne:

There is this mythology that those that use guns and even regularly that they can shoot to wound. Shooting and hitting a target is actually harder than you think. The guy could fire his gun and actually hit him in the leg and he could still bleed out because he hit the femoral artery. He could miss altogether and hit a bystander. Ask any police officer, when they have to fire their gun they fire for the midsection area with the intent to kill. This isn't Lethal Weapon 3 where Mel Gibson can hit his target on demand in the leg to just to wound him.

Again, I realize Tasers can have side effects. Perhaps the issue the Cardall family might have is with that company, who knows? But again I agree with Jack, the police didn't have the background information we now have. They had to act, they probably even thought they were acting to save Cardall's life by putting him down before ran into on-coming traffic on a highway.

I do feel bad about all of this. This is a tragedy but I'm not sure the police are to blame.

Jack
Aurora, CO

Dwayne,
No it is not proper to try to use lethal force (gun) to subdue when no lethal force has been or is being threatened. Mr Cardall was not armed and was not threatening lethal force, so using a firearm would not be defensible. It was very reasonable for the officers to use non-lethal force to subdue him, and by the article it wasn't known that he had the underlying medical condition which was triggered by the Tazer. It has been explained in other posts about the dangers of allowing him into traffic, or the dangers of allowing him to come at the officers. This is tragic, but not foreseen by the officers. I believe this was a main consideration by the court/attorneys/city which prompted them to settle as they did. It doesn't bring Mr Cardall back, and I hope all parties can live with the aftermath. This will haunt those officers for the rest of their lives.

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: ". . . it is better that 1% of the people DIE rather than an officer be hurt?"

Yeah, it is. To real people, that's not a tough choice.

Where is it written that Utah's finest are required risk injury and death because of another's criminal or mentally ill behavior?

Of course this case is tragic, but it would be more tragic still, if a liberal, bleeding-heart overreaction further handcuffed and endangered those we pay so poorly and so grudgingly to protect us so well.

Third try screen name
Mapleton, UT

I suppose the wife could have stood between her husband and the police and stated, "Don't hurt him. He'll be OK in a minute."
But she didn't. She was locked in the car with her children out of fear.
That ought to tell you something about the situation. The one person in the world who knew him best and was most likely to be able to control his behavior was cowering in fear. She called the police for help.
Once the situation has escalated to that point you really have no choice but to allow fate to take its course.
This isn't Hollywood. The police use lethal weapons. That's why we call them when we are in trouble. The taser was the least lethal in the arsenal and they used it. The intent was to subdue him. That was the logical thing to do. Sometimes the taser effect is fatal. That's real life. Tasers save lives far more often than they kill. They aren't perfect.
Bleeding hearts call to disarm police, but they live in a fantasy world.

Jack
Aurora, CO

@Cinci man,
We're talking about Hurricane, UT, not metro Cincinnati. The time it would have taken to get as many officers as you suggest to the scene; sheriff's deputies and UHP would still have yielded less than 10 officers, makes it very impractical and logistically impossible. To expect to devote that many resources is just not realistic. These officers used non-lethal force, like they were trained to do with an aggressive, out of control man and it went south. You get the luxury of second-guessing them, their training, the resources available, the price of rice in Ethiopia, but it just doesn't meet any measure of what those two had to do at the time with the facts available to them. They are not obligated to allow him to injure or possibly kill them prior to taking action. They tried to stop the situation from escalating to a lethal force issue and it went wrong. I would much rather they tried the Tazer, than waiting until he was a lethal threat and then shot him. This is a tragic ending and a man is dead. Let him rest.

Cinci Man
FT MITCHELL, KY

Wow Jack. You read way more into my post than I wrote. My suggestion would have taken no more than 3 officers and 20 minutes of working with the situation and resources available in lieu of taking action that has proven time and time again to be life threatening. I simply proposed that the first course of action should not be to Taser a mentally ill person. And I do not advocate shooting someone as a primary course for subduing him either. But you and I both know that officers carry in their vehicles, necessary equipment to slow down traffic and call for assistance. Mr. Cardall was not threatening anyone's life. And I know Hurricane Utah very well and know that the exact spot where this incident occurred was in an area that several more officers could have been on the scene within 20 minutes. And if you were more familiar with this specific case, you would know beyond a shadow of doubt that the Taser was used before any of the options I suggested were employed. I think many things can be learned for better response by officers in the future. I'll stick to that claim.

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