Lawsuit: Police stun gun led to man's stroke


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COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (AP) — The family of a northern Idaho man is contending he became permanently disabled due to a stroke caused by police using a stun gun on him.

The Coeur d'Alene Press reports (http://bit.ly/TpeIAZ) that the family of 64-year-old Marvin Ball filed the lawsuit earlier this month in federal court against Kootenai County, the city of Post Falls and others. The Post Falls family is seeking unspecified damages.

The lawsuit said police on June 28, 2012, used a stun gun on Ball who later had a stroke while in custody at the Kootenai County jail. The lawsuit said that Ball showed signs of having a stroke but didn't receive medical attention.

"Despite his condition worsening to the point that he was unable to speak and was experiencing right-sided weakness, Marvin Ball remained at the Kootenai County jail until July 2, 2012, without being provided any medical care or transported to a hospital for evaluation and treatment," the complaint states.

Also named in the suit are former Kootenai County Sheriff Rocky Watson, Post Falls Chief Scot Haug, Post Falls Officer Jason DeWitt, and five Jane and John Does.

Haug declined to comment. Kootenai County Sheriff Ben Wolfinger didn't return a call from The Associated Press on Friday.

The complaint said that DeWitt responded to an apartment complex after a complaint by another resident who pointed out Ball as having "requested she tell him how much it would cost for him to perform oral sex on her."

The complaint said that DeWitt tried to talk to Ball but Ball went into his apartment and locked the door.

The complaint said that, "Officer DeWitt, without the permission or consent of Marvin Ball, or the manager of the apartment complex, kicked the door open and attempted to seize Ball and remove him from the apartment."

DeWitt used his stun gun, the complaint says, and then took Ball into custody for resisting arrest and obstructing a police officer. In addition, the complaint said, drugs were later found in Ball's cell and he ended up also facing charges of felony possession of a controlled substance and solicitation of prostitution. The complaint said that eventually all the charges were dismissed.

At the Kootenai County jail, the family said in the complaint, DeWitt observed a "radical change" in Ball's behavior, and that Ball was unable to answer "the most basic pre-booking questions."

Attorneys Richard Baughman and Charles Lempesis are representing the family in the lawsuit.

"Pursuing remedies on behalf of Mr. Ball and his family helps to assure that all of us as citizens are safe from unreasonable and egregious intrusion upon our constitutional right to be secure in our homes and safe from physical harm from the government," Lempesis said.

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Information from: Coeur d'Alene Press, http://www.cdapress.com

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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