Family sues police over stun gun death of mentally ill man

MILWAUKEE — The family of a mentally ill man who died after Milwaukee-area police officers used a stun gun on him has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the village of West Milwaukee.

The family of Adam Trammell, 22, alleges police violated his constitutional rights by using excessive and deadly force during the May 2017 encounter, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported . The family seeks unspecified money damages.

Trammell suffered from schizophrenia and was placed in an apartment by a case manager.

The officers were called to Trammell's apartment by a neighbor who said Trammell was having a mental breakdown and threatening to hurt himself. The officers found Trammell in the shower and used their stun guns after he failed to respond to commands.

The lawsuit names officers Anthony Munoz and Michael Rohleder, who entered the bathroom, as well as officer Danielle Engen, who was outside the bathroom. The suit also names Police Chief Dennis Nasci, alleging he inadequately supervised, disciplined and trained employees.

Prosecutors later cleared Munoz and Rohleder of wrongdoing. Both remain on full duty, Nasci said. Engen wasn't part of the investigation and has taken a job at another police department, he said.

The lawsuit argues officers should've abided by state Department of Justice guidelines and minimized the use of force and restraint when interacting with someone requiring medical assistance.

A standard Taser cycle lasts about five seconds. Taser exposure greater than 15 seconds can "increase the risk of serious injury or death and should be avoided," according to guidelines set by the Police Executive Research Forum.

Nasci estimates Trammell was shocked for up to 35 seconds, while the family's attorney said he may have felt about 90 seconds of voltage.

The village attorney, H. Stanley Riffle, did not immediately respond to Sentinel and Associated Press requests for comment.

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Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com

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