Police Taser use on heart attack man reasonable, IPCC says

  • 27 September 2013
  • From the section Liverpool

Police used "reasonable force" when they Tasered a man who then suffered a cardiac arrest, an inquiry found.

An Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) probe began after the incident last September at the Albert Dock Premier Inn hotel in Liverpool.

The IPCC said it was a "violent situation" and use of the stun gun was "proportionate".

Solicitors for James McCarthy, who was struck, said he did not accept the findings.

They added Mr McCarthy, 23, suffered a serious injury following the incident and is now pursuing a civil claim against Merseyside Police for damages.

Officers were called to the hotel where a group of men were fighting.

Mr McCarthy was hit twice by Taser, including one discharge that lasted 11 seconds.

Cocaine and cannabis

Due to the potential threat of violence, the IPCC found its use was "proportionate and appropriate".

However, one officer "was not aware of the length of time" it was being fired and the IPCC recommended further training.

Medical staff said the stun gun could have caused the cardiac arrest, but the presence of cocaine and cannabis in Mr McCarthy's system may also have contributed.

James Dipple-Johnstone, IPCC commissioner, said: "Our investigation found [officers] had valid concerns for both their safety and that of the public and, as such, use of force including Taser was reasonable.

"However, our investigation did identify areas for improvement in how long the Taser was used for and how long it took for welfare checks to be made by officers when the subject of the Taser use was restrained and suffering a medical emergency."

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