City Settles on $175,000 With Brain Damaged Boy

Police sargeant thought to have misused taser on 14-year-old

The city of Chicago will likely pay $175,000 to a 14-year-old boy who suffered brain damage after being tasered by a police officer in 2005, per a settlement advanced Monday by a City Council committee.

The debilitating incident happened at a North Side group home after a staffer at the home snatched a baseball cap off the teenager’s head, sending the boy into a rage.

The youth smashed through six windows at the Uhlich Children’s Advantage Network Home on North Mozart Avenue, before fleeing the facility where he was a resident, The Sun-Times reported Monday.

When police were called to the scene, the teen refused to let responding officers and paramedics get close enough to treat his bleeding hand, the city says. When the verbal abuse continued, the paper reported, a police sergeant tasered the boy for 17 seconds.

The taser is designed to allow a current flow of only five seconds when the trigger is pulled and immediately released.

Sgt. Samuel Lopez kept his finger on the trigger, causing a “constant stream of current” for 17 seconds, the Sun-Times says a release from the city Law Department claimed.

Lopez maintained he used the taser only after the teen “came off the couch and lunged at him in a threatening manner,” the city said.

According to paramedics at the scene, the taser left the boy unconscious, suffering ventricular fibrillation and cardiac arrest.

The boy’s guardian subsequently filed a lawsuit disputing the sergeant’s account. The guardian claimed that the teen was tasered for too long while “non-violent” and seated.

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