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Friday, May 14, 2010

Fort Worth offering $2 million to family of Taser victim

May 14, 2010
Mike Lee, Star-Telegram

FORT WORTH -- The city of Fort Worth has offered $2 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of a man who was killed with a Taser during a confrontation with police last year.

The City Council is scheduled to vote on the settlement Tuesday, according to an agenda posted online.

Michael Patrick Jacobs died April 18, 2009, after he was shocked for 54 seconds.

Jacobs, 24, had a history of mental illness and his family called police because he was behaving aggressively.

Three officers arrived and said he refused to calm down. An investigation showed that Jacobs was moving toward the officers when he was shocked, although he was unarmed and never struck them.

The officer who used the Taser said she inadvertently held down the trigger the first time she shocked Jacobs, for 49 seconds. She shocked him again for five seconds.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office ruled Jacobs' death a homicide, but the officers were cleared by a police investigation.

A Tarrant County grand jury declined to indict the officers.

The confrontation happened in front of Jacobs' parents home, with family members watching.

His parents and other relatives sued the city, alleging that the officers were improperly trained and used excessive force. The city claimed that it was immune from the suit.

In April, U.S. District Judge Terry Means ordered the city and the Jacobs family to meet with a mediator. The city has not admitted liability.

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