D. H. v. State of California
On the evening of July 26, 2008, at approximately 7:00 p.m., D. H., a 47-year old divorced father of two teenage girls was riding his motorcycle on State Hwy. 12 approaching the Interstate 5 Freeway interchange in Stockton California. California Highway Patrol Officer Roberto Iniguez spotted D. H.’s motorcycle accelerating at a high rate of speed. Officer Iniguez driving a marked CHP patrol vehicle followed D. H. and eventually decided to affect a traffic stop. However, D. H. continued to accelerate in an apparent attempt to evade Iniguez. Officer Iniguez continued to pursue D. H. for several miles
D.H.’s motorcycle ultimately crashed coming to rest in the middle of the southbound lanes of Interstate 5. Officer Iniguez stopped and immediately exited his patrol vehicle and stood behind the opened front driver’s door using it as cover. D. H. began to run eastbound towards the center divider.
As D. H. approached the 3-foot metal barrier at the center of the highway, Officer Iniguez could see that D. H. was not holding anything in his hands. Iniguez immediately drew and fired his TASER® Model X26 Electronic Control Device (“ECD”). Both probes struck D. H. and the device was immediately effective causing D. H. to collapse to the ground like a domino, unable to use his arms to cushion his fall. D. H. struck his head on the ground.
Once D. H. was on the ground, Officer Iniguez Officer Iniguez repeatedly shouted commands to him not to move and to show his right hand. D. H. did not respond to any of these commands. As a result, Officer Iniguez discharged his ECD repeatedly (31 times), all which Iniguez believed were effective in discharging electrical current into D. H. causing D. H. to be exposed to the device’s electrical current for a total of 2 minutes and 35 seconds. The total elapsed time from the first discharge to the completion of the last discharge was 7 minutes and 23 seconds.
Once a back-up officer arrived at the scene, D. H. was approached and determined to be unresponsive. Ultimately, paramedics and emergency room staff were unable to revive D. H. and he died a short time later at a local hospital.
After extensive litigation, during which Dr. Bennet Omalu, Chief Forensic Pathologist for San Jacinto County (and the subject of the movie, Concussion, starring Will Smith) opined that the cause of D. H.’s death was the repeated electrical discharges from Officer Iniguez’ TASER®, a settlement was reached with the State of California for $1 Million dollars.