Man TASERed by Utah police files lawsuit, video released

A Utah man has filed a lawsuit alleging he was left “profoundly disabled” after two officers TASERed him twice


By PoliceOne Staff

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah man has filed a lawsuit alleging he was left “profoundly disabled” after two officers TASERed him twice.

The Deseret News reports that Fernando Coronado, 48, says he’s suffered a number of injuries related to a 2016 confrontation with police. On Aug. 3, 2016, West Valley police were called after Coronado got drunk and threatened his wife, Tabeththa. Tabeththa said her husband threatened to kill her and placed a “knife against his throat and threatened to kill himself.”

When police arrived, Coronado reportedly said he was a sniper in the Marines and “would kill any cop who entered the apartment.” Coronado finally exited his residence after negotiations but he didn’t comply with any of the officers’ verbal commands.

When Coronado moved toward the officers, he was shot with a TASER twice. He pleaded guilty to a slew of charges and was placed on probation.

Coronado said he never threatened to kill any officers, but doesn’t deny he was drunk. He also said he had an existing hip injury and couldn’t move fast and was deaf in one ear. 

Coronado alleges that the officers were giving him conflicting commands and was in the process of complying before the officers deployed their TASERs.

The suspect said he fell head-first into a cement landing and suffered a fractured skull and broken neck. He said he now experiences constant pain in his arms, has trouble walking and suffers from short-term memory loss as a result of the encounter. 

Video of the incident was released Thursday, which shows Coronado making a few terse statements to police before being TASERed. Officers were also heard trying to persuade Coronado to leave the apartment many times and surrender.

Coronado’s attorney Robert Sykes said that the officer’s use of force was not appropriate because his client was not armed at the time and didn’t pose a threat.

West Valley police said they will “vigorously defend each and every allegation contained in the complaint.”

"The threat to the safety of surrounding apartments and open spaces necessitated an evacuation of the area and the call out of West Valley City Police Department SWAT officers. A skilled and specially trained Crisis Intervention Team negotiator from the West Valley City police spent multiple hours negotiating with Mr. Coronado to safely resolve the incident," the department stated in a press release.

The department said while an injury to anyone involved is unfortunate, “officers must act to ensure the safety of not only the suspect, but also the safety of the public, themselves and other officers.”

 

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