Diabetic man can pursue claim over tasering

THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

A diabetic man who collapsed at a Tallahassee grocery store can pursue an excessive-force lawsuit against a police officer who repeatedly used a stun gun after the man did not follow orders in an ambulance, a federal appeals court said Tuesday.

But a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld other parts of a lower-court decision that rejected James Boynton’s claims against the city of Tallahassee, a paramedic and an emergency-medical technician.

Boynton, a Type 1 diabetic, filed the lawsuit after a 2010 incident in which he suffered a diabetic seizure at a Winn-Dixie supermarket. The paramedic and EMT used a stretcher to move the largely unresponsive man to their ambulance, where he regained consciousness, according to the ruling.

A struggle occurred after Boynton tried to leave the ambulance, prompting the rescue workers to call for help. The EMT told police officer Curtis Norton she thought Boynton might be on illegal drugs, and the officer found Boynton on the floor of the ambulance clinging to the bottom of the stretcher.

Tasered nine times
Norton hoisted Boynton onto the stretcher and ordered him to roll over to receive treatment. After Boynton refused to move and tensed his body, Norton used a Taser and ultimately shocked the man nine times, the ruling said. Boynton was then handcuffed to the stretcher. The paramedic determined on the way to a hospital that Boynton had low blood sugar.

The paramedic administered an intravenous solution, and Boynton was treated and released. He was not charged with any crime. Arguing that the use of the stun gun caused damage to his lumbar spine, Boynton filed a federal lawsuit making allegations against Norton, the rescue workers and the city.

Those allegations included that his rights had been violated under the Americans with Disabilities Act. A federal district-court judge ruled in favor of the defendants.

The appeals court Tuesday upheld most of that decision but overturned a ruling on an excessive-force claim against Norton. That allows Boynton to continue pursuing the claim in the lower court.

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