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.
Bret Hanna of Wrona DuBois in Utah, focuses exclusively on litigating plaintiffs’ medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has represented clients in state and federal courts, in mediations, and in administrative proceedings in Michigan and Utah since 1991.