Columbus, Ohio January 29, 2014 “A case arising from the application of a Perry Township, Ohio Taser policy and Matthew Hook, a fleeing property crime suspect, has been resolved. On August 8, 2010, Matthew Hook was wanted for property crimes and was fleeing from police. During his flight, he climbed a fence despite officer’s orders to stop. The Perry Township police officer deployed his Taser causing neuromuscular incapacitation which led to Matthew falling from the fence and sustaining a traumatic brain injury. As a result of the fall, Matthew suffers seizures, is emotionally unstable and requires constant monitoring. Mr. Hook, his parents and daughter filed suit asserting that the tasing was excessive force and that Perry Township had a deficient Taser policy. The officer and Perry Township denied liability and asserted that the force used was appropriate and that the Taser policy was consistent with legal requirements. The medical expenses and life care plan totaled millions of dollars.
Perry Township lost its motion for summary judgment in the district court and the case was settled while pending on appeal in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals when a $2,250,000 settlement was reached. The settlement proceeds will be paid by the Township’s liability coverage and divided among Mr. Hook and the family members. No township funds were paid as part of the settlement. The Township has since amended its taser policy. And Mr. Hook has a sobering message for people who flee arrest: “I wish I had not run from the police. I would rather have my brain than the money. ” Attorney Al Gerhardstein of Cincinnati, co-counsel for the Plaintiff, said, “We commend the Township for revising the Taser policy and we hope other jurisdictions will follow the Township’s example. This is a sad case for everyone involved.” Mr. Bill Lamkin and Mr. Tim Van Eman of Columbus are also co-counsel for the Plaintiffs.
CONTACT: AL GERHARDSTEIN “CELL 513.659.4765513.659.4765