The City of Fort Worth has reached a $2 million settlement with the family of Michael Patrick Jacobs, Jr., who was tased to death on April 18, 2009 at the family home. Police officers came to the home after family members called asking for medical assistance for their son, who suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Family members said he was not violent in any way.
Police said he was combative. Cpl. Stephanie A. Phillips shocked him first with a 49-second blast, then a second time for five seconds. The Tarrant County medical examiner’s office ruled his death a homicide due to “application of a conducted energy device.”
The city, however, did not discipline Phillips, nor are they admitting any liability with the settlement. “Approval of this settlement should not be construed as an admission of liability by the City of Fort Worth, any liability in this matter being, in fact, expressly denied. This settlement is entered into only to avoid further time-consuming and costly litigation.” The settlement must be approved by city council.
In related news, the Texas Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference has said in a statement that they will not support next year’s Super Bowl at Cowboy Stadium if Arlington goes ahead with plans to purchase 300 taser units for their police force this year. Here is the SCLC’s staement:
ARLINGTON, TEXAS – The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), founded by the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., can not and will not support the North Texas Super Bowl in February 2011 of next year if the City of Arlington and their Police Department purchase 300 torture taser tools.
“Five people have been tortured to death in the last 5 years in Fort Worth, Texas alone from taser related shocks and it is offensive and an insult to their families, especially the family of Michael Patrick Jacobs, Jr., who dies after being shocked for 54 seconds in the neck by Fort Worth Police Officer Stephine A. Phillips,” says Rev. Kyev Tatum, president of the Fort Worth Tarrant County Chapter of the SCLC.
The civil rights group compares the use of tasers to the use of lynching, police dogs and water boarding to control entire communities.
“We as a society have been opposed to torture in other parts of the world, yet we continue to allow law enforcement agencies to use taser torture to control and in many cases kill people who will not comply with their orders. Its evil and sadistic,” Rev. Tatum said.
The Texas SCLC chapters will travel to Atlanta Georgia in August for their national convention and to meet with newly elected president Bernice King, the daughter to gain international support for the boycott and ban on tasers.
For more information contact the SCLC at 817-966-7625.