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City of Columbia Settles With Missouri Man Critically Injured by Police Taser Gun

3 comments

Columbia, Missouri—as part of a settlement agreement reached last month, the city has agreed to pay Phillip Lee McDuffy $300,000 after police critically injured the man in 2008 with a Taser gun. Overall, the city will pay $233,544.63 for the injury and $66,455.37 in overdue child support payments that McDuffy was unable to fulfill because of his severe injuries.

According to previous news articles, McDuffy was critically injured on July, 25 2008 after police shocked him with a Taser gun, which caused him to fall 15 feet off a pedestrian walkway over an interstate in Columbia, MO. As a result of the fall, McDuffy broke his jaw, both arms, and suffered an orbital fracture. After the incident, McDuffy underwent three surgeries, and according to his attorney, has yet to regain the normal motion of his arms, with his dominant armed “locked” at the elbow.

A police investigation concluded that the Taser gun was used appropriately. Furthermore, no police officers were found at fault and no disciplinary action was taken. While the Columbia police have no comment on this particular accident, they have acknowledged two other instances of improper Taser use and have agreed to adopt new guidelines for using the device.

3 Comments

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  1. Bob says:
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    Just another payoff to a blood sucking personal injury trial lawyer.

  2. Julie says:
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    Here is the NEWS story
    The insurance co paid off the lawyer and threw the thug a bone.
    The Lawyer gets 40%, 120 thousand of the 300 K
    http://www.columbiamissourian.com/stories/2009/12/11/city-agrees-pay-300000-man-shocked-taser/
    She said the city’s insurance fund will cover the settlement.

    “We felt that the city was at risk if it went to trial, so we figured this was in our best interest,” Finance Director Lori Fleming said. Although there was no lawsuit in this case, the city believed future legal proceedings would have cost the city more in the long run, she said.

    According to previous Missourian articles, McDuffy, 46, was critically injured on July 25, 2008, after police shocked him with a Taser and he fell about 15 feet off a pedestrian walkway over Interstate 70 at Providence Road. He broke his jaw and both arms and suffered an orbital fracture in the fall.

    Police had been negotiating with McDuffy for about 90 minutes before shocking him with a Taser. Traffic was backed up in all directions as he threatened to jump off the overpass.

    A Police Department investigation found the use of a Taser against McDuffy was appropriate. No officers were found at fault in the incident, and no disciplinary action was taken. The department could not be reached for comment on the settlement.

    The agreement comes almost a year after McDuffy submitted his original settlement offer — for $500,000 — to the city. In that time the Police Department has acknowledged two instances of improper Taser use — but not the incident involving McDuffy — and agreed to adopt new guidelines for the device.

    In a letter submitted in December 2008 to the city, McDuffy’s attorney, Todd Johnson of Baty, Holm & Numrich, P.C., in Kansas City, argued that Columbia police should not have shocked McDuffy with a Taser because its policy says not to use the device on individuals who are standing near a ledge.

    In a report following the investigation, the Police Department said McDuffy was only standing at a height of 5 feet when he was first shocked with a Taser, but he then moved toward the middle of the bridge, which was 15 feet above the ground. Four Taser shots were fired at him.

  3. Megan says:
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    David, you appear to have a bit of a problem with the facts here. Or at least one crucial one.

    The Columbia Missourian article you borrowed liberally from says:
    “A Police Department investigation found the use of a Taser against McDuffy was appropriate. No officers were found at fault in the incident, and no disciplinary action was taken.”

    Yet you interpret it as:
    “A police investigation concluded that the Taser gun was used inappropriately. However, no police officers were found at fault and no disciplinary action was taken.”

    The story here, in case you missed it, is that even though the Taser use was deemed appropriate, the city has to pay $300,000.

    In some ways, that’s actually a more interesting situation than a settlement following inappropriate Taser use. However, considering that the whole incident started because McDuffy was threatening to kill himself by jumping off the bridge, it’s hard to feel sympathetic for him.