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Bret Hanna
Bret Hanna
Attorney • 435-649-2525

Widow of Man Tasered to Death Has His Baby

6 comments

I’ve posted on this tragic case before because it seems so senseless. Brian Cardall died on June 9th, after he was tasered twice by a Hurricane police officer along the side of a highway in southern Utah. His family thinks excessive force was used on Cardall who appeared manic and disoriented at the time of the tasering. The autopsy results are not in yet, but the suspicion is that his sudden death was caused by cardiac arrest.

At the time of his death, Cardall’s wife was pregnant with their second child. Bella Aspen Cardall was born on September 26th, and she weighed in at 7 pounds 2 ounces. Bella joins her mother Anna and 3-year-old sister Ava as they move forward in life without a husband and father. The family has commented on how much Bella resembles her father ,which offers them comfort as the official investigation into Brian’s death continues.

Not surprisingly, Peter Stirba, the attorney hired by the Hurricane Police Department immediately after Cardall’s death, claims that officers acted appropriately in deploying Tasers on on Cardall. But the facts just don’t add up to such a conclusion. Yes, Cardall was behaving erratically when he was tased. His behavior is what led his wife to call 911 to begin with – she was concerned for his safety. But at the time of the tasing, Cardall had removed all of his clothes and was standing along the highway. Who was he going to hurt and how? Was Taser deployment really necessary? There was not a less forceful method to diffuse the situation?

It will be interesting to see the results of the investigation being conducted by the Washington County Critical Incident Task Force, but I think anyone who pays attention to these types of cases can predict them. How many times have you heard or read that after an exhaustive investigation, investigators have cleared officers of all wrong-doing and no charges will be pursued or disciplinary action taken? For the sake of the Cardall family, I hope that is not the case here.

6 Comments

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  1. William Stanley says:
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    So all you really want is the taxpayers to cough up lots of cash for the family of the looney toons? 40% to the lawyer probably sounds good to you too.
    Next time officers need to wrestle a naked, sweaty drug induced excited delirium mad man they should call a lawyer.

    If you did a little research you would find that most emergency physicians recommend subduing people in that state quickly avoiding a protracted battle. Tasers save lives everyday and drugs kill. Lawyers will sue because that is what lawyers do.

  2. Ed says:
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    All that one needs to do is pay attention to the time axis to reveal the obvious truth about taser “safety”. Subjects may be excited, subjects may be delirious, but the sequence tasered_then_dead seems to be too frequent to be a coincidence.

    Even if we buy the nonsence about “excited delirium”, then it’s clear that the taser is almost certainly the worst possible approach.

    And it’s worth noting that there are cases of taser-associated deaths where there was no excitement, no delirium, no health issues, no drugs, no other cause of death except the taser shock to the upper left chest.

    It’s also worth noting that Taser International has dialed back their latest model, from 100+ uC to just 60 uC. A clear cut admission that 100 was too much.

    Many more interesting facts on the blog.

  3. Bret Hanna says:
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    William:

    Thank you for your comment. I’m not sure I understand the reference to taxpayers paying money in a situation like the Cardall case. Police departments are insured just like private entities so there is financial protection when they make mistakes. I suppose one could argue that tax dollars pay the insurance premiums, but that is simply a cost of doing business.

    Your reference to a “looney” suggests a lack of empathy and compassion on your part. Brian Cardall had recently been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He was entitled to be treated with the same dignity and respect that you would expect if you found yourself in a similar situation.

    Finally, I’m not sure why you think the police had to wrestle with Mr. Cardall, taser him, or do anything at all other than let the situation diffuse itself in a non-physical way. Brian was not armed and he was not threatening anyone.

    This was nothing other than a senseless tragedy and the police should be held accountable.

  4. Bret Hanna says:
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    Ed:

    I think your analysis is spot-on. Thank you for passing along your thoughts.

  5. Steve Lombardi says:
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    Bret: If you haven’t already done so read Peter Grainger’s comments on my post titled, Taser News that Shocks the Conscience, Des Moines, Iowa. Mr. Grainger has been reporting on CEW’s in Canada and he’s got an excellent grasp of the subject. I’ll add the URL for ease of your readers.

    http://desmoines.injuryboard.com/wrongful-death/taser-news-that-shocks-the-conscience.aspx?googleid=271598

  6. Bret Hanna says:
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    Steve: Thank you for posting the URL to Mr. Grainger’s comments here. I read them as I followed the comments to your post and they are a “must read” for anyone interested in this topic. Thanks again.