A 27-year-old police officer in Oklahoma City who has been charged with rape has now also been accused of wrongful death. The lawsuit was filed earlier this year by a woman claiming that police were responsible for the death of her adult son.
According to court documents, on May 1, 2013, a 39-year-old man with mental illness who had called 911 for assistance died after the officer and three other cops hogtied him into submission. The man had refused to enter a squad car in favor of riding to the hospital in his grandmother's car. The man was placed in handcuffs and had belts around his legs to restrain him, a tactic referred to as 'maximum restraint hobble system." The court documents went on to state that the police used malicious intent without jurisdiction and displayed no regard for the man's welfare.
After the altercation, the 39-year-old man collapsed. Paramedics who arrived at the scene to transport him to the Baptist Hospital's emergency department declared him dead.
Although the Oklahoma medical examiner deemed the man's death an accident as a result of 'excited delirium syndrome," many medical professionals do not recognize this as an actual medical condition. As a result, the victim's mother filed the wrongful death suit due to the negligence of the police as well as pain and suffering for the loss of a loved one. In addition, she is seeking compensation for funeral expenses.
After a wrongful death case of this nature, it may seem difficult to build a case against the police officers because the victim was mentally ill. However, any eyewitnesses that might have been present could help an attorney in building his or her case. It can be proven that the police officers who came to assist the man took the wrong cause of action and acted negligently. It could be argued that the officers used excessive force.
Source: The Oklahoma State Courts Network, "Oklahoma Statutes Citationized", September 12, 2014