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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Family sues police claiming Taser raid on son

October 7, 2008
Dale Anne Freed, Toronto Star

A 43-year-old physically and mentally disabled North York man and his family are suing several police officers, including members of the Emergency Task Force, and the Toronto Police Services Board for more than $9 million in damages after he was hit with a Taser in his bedroom.

According to the lawsuit filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, George Lochner was in his second-floor bedroom when emergency task force officers came looking for his brother Silvano, who was wanted for allegedly threatening to assault his neighbour with a sledgehammer.

None of the family's accusations has been proven in court. In a statement of defence, the police and the board deny all of the family's allegations.

Police Tasered Lochner twice and beat him on his face and all over his body, his brother Silvano, 50, said last night at the family home in a quiet, middle-class neighbourhood.

"It was scary. My brother was in his room on the second floor sleeping when emergency task force officers came in with rifles. They said my brother tried to attack them," said Silvano, as he and his mother Lina, 77, showed the Star photos of George's injuries. "We have a medical report that says he was Tasered twice.

"Look what they did to him – he's handicapped, he's autistic," said his brother.

"Our lawyer, Clayton Ruby, will explain it all at a press conference at his office (today.)"

On Aug. 11, 2006, Silvano, who police said showed "violent tendencies," refused to surrender. The emergency task force team, backed up by tactical paramedics, arrived at the Lochner family home, where George Lochner lives with his parents and Silvano.

Police found George's mother and his brother Paul Lochner in the garage. They told police Silvano was out walking their disabled father and nobody was in the Verwood Ave. home.

The Lochners claim police attacked and punched Paul, pushed him to the ground, "pointed guns at his head" and handcuffed him.

Police then went in the home, "clearing" it room by room and found George lying in his bed.

Police say they identified themselves and told the special-needs man not to move, but say he tried to attack them and had to be subdued. But the Lochner family claims that police Tasered George "numerous" times in "drive stun mode" and "full deployment mode."

"I'm a good boy," George reportedly told police after they Tasered him. Silvano was later arrested.

Police say they used no more force than necessary and that he "suffered no physical injuries."

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