TULSA — The family of a Black man who died after being tased by police more than two dozen times announced a lawsuit on Friday.
Body-cam footage from the Tulsa Police Department shows Joshua Harvey, 25, breaking a glass door and entering a bank in 2018. Harvey did not have a weapon. Court records show he suffered from mental illness.
The department's use-of-force report said officers used their tasers on Harvey 27 times in three minutes. Harvey lost consciousness and died three days later at a hospital.
Harvey's parents and their attorneys Damario Solomon-Simmons of SolomonSimmonsLaw, Spencer Bryan and Steven Terrill of BryanTerrill, P.C., and Cordal Cephas of Johnson Cephas Law held the news conference.
The lawsuit is against the City of Tulsa, Tulsa Police Department officers Nigel Harris, Steven Douglas, Jaye Taylor, Patrick Dunlap, former Chief Charles Jordan, and American Medical Response Ambulance Service, Inc.
Harvey's family and attorney's made the following claims in the lawsuit:
- Video shows TPD Officers knew Harvey was mentally impaired.
- Video shows unarmed Harvey being tasered over 20 times while lying on the ground.
- Video shows a handcuffed and compliant Harvey forcefully held him face down for approximately fifteen minutes by TPD officers.
- Video shows Harvey begging for help while restrained face down with pressure on his back.
- Video shows officers berate a clearly distressed and barely breathing Harvey.
- Video shows Harvey have a heart attack and go unconscious while officers are laughing and joking.
- TASER material explicitly warns excessive tasing increases the risk of death.
- TPD Tried to Cover-up their role in Harvey's death.
- To-date none of the TPD officers involved have been disciplined.
- Clear example why Independent Oversight of TPD Use of Force Necessary
- AMR failed to take control of the scene and provide an adequate medical attention
According to a petition filed by the family, Harvey suffered from Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia. The petition states Harvey had self-medicating behaviors, which included using methamphetamine.
Officers were given information on the situation, referring to it involving "a person with an actual or perceived mental health condition," states the petition.
According to the petition, Harvey's family is hoping the court will grant the following:
- Judgment of $75,000 in favor of the family for damages suffered by Harvey and his heirs.
- Judgment in favor of the family as damages for violations of Harvey's constitutional rights.
- Punitive damages to the extent permitted by law.
- Declaration that excessive force against Harvey was unconstitutional as a matter of law.
- Award of attorney's fees and costs, including fees of expert witness and other provisions of law.
- Any and all further relief the court deems just and equitable, including pre- and post-judgment interest at the appropriate lawful rate.
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