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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mom suing cops over son's death

July 26, 2010
Dean Pritchard, QMI Agency

WINNIPEG - A Winnipeg woman whose teenage son was killed after being shocked by a police Taser is suing city police and the makers of the controversial weapon.

Police officers used “unnecessary force ... amounting to assault and battery” when they shocked 17-year-old Michael Langan with a Taser, Sharon Shymko alleges in a lawsuit filed earlier this month.

Langan died July 22, 2008 after he was “chased, (shocked with a Taser) and killed during the course of an interaction with the unnamed constables,” says the lawsuit.

Police at the time said Langan was shocked after he refused two officers’ repeated demands to drop a knife.

Before the incident he allegedly smashed the passenger side window of a Lexus car, parked at MWG Apparel Corp. at 1147 Notre Dame Ave., and stole something, police said.

Two witnesses followed the youth on foot to William Avenue and Arlington Street, where they flagged down officers. The teen was allegedly holding a knife when the officers approached him in the alley between the 800-block of William Avenue and the National Microbiology Lab.

Police failed “to use appropriate police strategy to arrest (Langan) when they knew or should have known (Langan) was armed,” says the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges city police were never trained in the proper use of the Taser and that the weapon was never safety tested.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

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