Man Files Lawsuit, Charging He Was Stunned By Taser 11 Times

Updated 11/10/11 – 5:29 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — A 27-year-old Chicago-area man has filed a federal lawsuit against several Chicago police officers and the city, alleging that he was tortured last year during a traffic stop–and stunned with a Taser 11 times.

Josue Tapia, first of all, says police had the wrong man. Officers were looking for a J. Tapia who was wanted on an arrest warrant, but they arrested the wrong man.

As CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports, Tapia said Chicago police officers used a Taser 11 times against him, during a traffic stop at 43rd and Paulina in May 2010. He was hospitalized for days. The stun gun left numerous marks on his body, where the Taser’s prongs penetrated his skin.

taser victim 11 Man Files Lawsuit, Charging He Was Stunned By Taser 11 Times

Jose Tapia says he was hit with a Taser 11 times.

“It was just a lot of pain everywhere,’ Tapia said. “Every inch of my body was being brutalized with no explanation why.”

Tapia’s wife, Marlyn, was in the car, too.

“I was just screaming and crying and I was telling them ‘Please leave him alone, please leave him alone.’ It just felt like a nightmare.” she said. “They just kept cursing me out.”

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Despite having arrested the wrong man, police charged him with felonies – aggravated battery and resisting arrest.

“Instead of ‘fessing up to the fact that they got the wrong guy, they then make up a story that this young man was literally – after being tased 7 or 8 times – fighting off 6 or 7 police officers,” attorney Dennis Giovannini said.

Last week, Tapia went on trial for those charges, but a jury rejected the allegations and he was acquitted.

“I’m very glad I was found not guilty, first of all,” Tapia said. “That’s a start. That’s a start.”

Tapia has filed a federal lawsuit against the city and the police, asking for damages. His lawyers claim the excessive use of the Taser amounted to torture.

taser victim Man Files Lawsuit, Charging He Was Stunned By Taser 11 Times

Josue Tapia has filed a federal lawsuit, charging he was Tasered 11 times by Chicago police.

“It was case of just Tasering over and over and over and over again, in a horrific way,” attorney Blake Horwitz said. “It literally fried him. It fried his mind. He has great difficulty remembering what transpired while the electricity was passing thru his brain.”

Tapia’s attorneys said the result of the criminal trial proved there was never any reason for police to use a Taser on Tapia once, let alone 11 times.

Tapia says he can’t work or support wife and four kids, due to the physical and mental aftereffects of his encounter with police.

“It was just, like, a lot of pain, everywhere. Every inch of my body was being brutalized,” Josue Tapia said.

The city’s Law Department has not responded to requests for comment on the lawsuit.

  • Mouth Runner

    Fortunately for us Americans giving ‘lip’ is not illegal. However, excessive force from uniformed public servants is. A jury 12 impartial peers found this man not guilty. There are such things as ‘bad’ cops.

    • What does Giving Lip mean anyway?

      Thank you for the above reply. “Giving Lip” (or whatever this expression is supposed to imply) is not illegal. Unless Mr. Tapia battered or assualted the officers, the officers were not justified in what they did. And Mr. Public, what do you mean by “ran his mouth?” First of all, there is absolutely nothing in the above article that suggests that that is what Mr. Tapia did. Why would you assume that? Secondly, let’s assume that Mr. Tapia did verbally respond to the officers in some manner. That is not illegal. It does not provide any amount of justification for the battery that he suffered. Thirldy, have you ever been wrongfully detained before? If not, put yourself in his shoes. He was pulled over and questioned for a crime that he did not commit in front of his FAMILY. If you were in his position, wouldn’t you respond in some way? Wouldn’t you at the very least ask questions? Lastly, he was acquitted of all charges by a jury of his peers. 12 out of 12 people agreed that all he did was “run his mouth,” as you so eloquently put it. Do you really think that that necessitates 11 separate electric shocks? If so, then you obviously do not stand behind the 8th Amendment, or the principle that we Americans are innocent until proven guilty.

    • John Q. Public

      OK then. The police tased him for no reason whatsoever. It must have been tase someone just for the hell of it , night. Come on people, the taser is used to subdue a person who is resisting. The trigger is pulled again if the person doesn’t comply, and pulled over and over until the person does comply. I don’t believe for one second that this guy complied, the police don’t tase people just for the fun of it.

      • Danielle In Idaho

        I’ll tell you what if some damn cop thought he was gonna arrest me when I had tried to explain that he had the wrong person I would put up one heck of a fight and I would sue them and never ever work again if they tazered me because I didn’t agree to be arrested. They need to be sure and know who they are arresting before applying force. This guy clearly had a right to resist arrest..clearly, he was the WRONG guy. Maybe you wouldn’t mind having handcuff’s put on you, having you put in the back of a police car and then spending not only time but your money to get yourself out but this guy did mind and so would’ve I. Just saying……. Wow!

      • Ian Albitz

        Um, yea. Ur an idiot.

    • CRC

      Uh, yeah I can believe it. Not like it would be the first or last time.

    • Albro

      Lip is not illegal, but resisting arrest is! The cops understood that this man was a wanted criminal: should they just take his word that he’s not, and go away? Even YOU aren’t THAT STUPID! Or are you?

  • Chivi

    I am a female and something like this happened to me but tasers were not around at that time. At the time, cops walked on water. Video cameras have proven that they do not. Some not all but most police officers, hate their job and some seem to hate humanity. We call them for help and they treat you like your are the criminal.

  • Mr. BuzzKill How Are You??

    Next time wear a heavy Carhartt jacket, works good.

    • Beverly Townsend

      What a morbid and disgusting comment.

      • Your Vibrater Goes Buzz Too

        It is a sick world, I am a happy guy.

  • Jim Hamilton

    So this is why Chicago Politicians don’t want to pass a right to carry law.

  • BG

    I have a hard time believing that this guy didn’t do something to warrant that. Why don’t they post the video?

  • definitely interesting.

    ABC posted a video. The reporter said that the City of Chicago PD refused to comment or answer questions. If the City had a video or anything to disprove this guy’s allegations, wouldn’t they have submitted a video or at least a statement then? Either way, I think it would be interesting to see how the City responds. But honestly, I just cant imagine what this guy couldve done to get tasered 11 times. and they beat him up. and it was multiple officers. it’s not like you can fight back after getting tasered a couple of times.

    • Tim

      He doesn’t have any marks on his face, so how was he beat up?

      • Danielle In Idaho

        get zapped once and you won’t have to even ask how he was “beat up”, our officers here had to agree to be zapped to carry the tazers and one told me that they would prefer to be shot as to be zapped even once…the officer that told me of her experience said the one zap she got took her out for a week… and that guy got 11 zaps and how in the heck could you even place blame on him when stated that it was a case of misidentity- the cops were over zealous in this case and now they get to pay…better training would of prevented this.

  • monique rodriguez

    1st off he never gave anyone lip no one said that he was tazed for fun so get our fact right. trust me im his sister in law

    • Kate Gallagher

      Please accept my condolences for your families difficulties. When I read the story I was horrified. Take Care and I have said a prayer for you.

  • Luke

    For John Q Public: Man, you must have been living in a cave, for a long long time. Cops are the most violent and brutal offenders there are. You know why ? It’s because they can usually get away with it. Once in awhile someone catches them with a video cam, but not near often enough. Too bad there’s not a video of what happened to Tapia, then the cops wouldn’t be able to lie or cover it up.

    • Nick

      And can someone please explain to me why police are not subject to random drug testing 24/7? I think it’s rather suspicious that not only do police and their unions lobby hard against random drug testing, but if Joe Smith hit somebody his toxicology report comes back within days but if a cop shoots someone or hits somebody HIS toxicology report takes a few weeks…..hhhhhhmmmmmmmm. F’ing laughable.

    • Nick

      I have. I live in a small college town called Monmouth (Oregon) and the police here break more laws than they enforce. I can personally attest to the fact that they have lied under oath, falsified police reports, threatened and intimidated people, used excessive force, attempted to enter without just cause, and other things of a thug nature. They are a joke. They lie to people all the time and use intimidation and threats of arrest to charge people with BS to meet their quota so they continue to get grant money instead of budget cuts.

      All of Polk County, Oregon law enforcement is like that. It is one of the most corrupt counties in the entire nation. Just 2 weeks ago I was biking to work at 7 am and saw a 6’5″ 275lb cop use his taser on a 65 year old man half his size right in front of the Monmouth Police Dept.

  • Roman Grinberg

    cops are aholes who like to mess with foreigners

    • Tim

      And you’re the first to call when you’re in trouble, punk.

    • Albro

      Give us your address and we’ll send you a whole big box of Kleenex, you whimpering little puke! When you become a man, if ever, you’ll hopefully be smart enough to see that even cops have a side of the story. If you’re so bloody smart, you be a cop and show them how its done…if you have the guts!

    • Bill T.

      @Roman, That is a load of BS, and everyone knows it.

  • Kate Gallagher

    cops get more and more violent and we should be protected against them, we should be able to defend ourselves physically from them.

    • Albro

      Well, Kate, that’s what this man did. You want to try it next? NO? OK, then perhaps you’d like to try being a cop for a few weeks, get shot at, that sort of thing. These folks put their lives on the line every time they walk up to a traffic stop. YOU KNOW SO MUCH BETTER, YOU DO IT!!

      • Tellin it like it is

        Albro your an idiot, I have seen footage from a police dash cam showing and officer yelling and screaming at a VERY tiny asian man to get out of his car and then he yanked him out of the car through his window threw him on the ground. And yes the officer was totally wrong and was fired and was sued.
        So fat-head realize that just because they took that job and badge it doesn’t make them any better than anyone else. If they don’t like their job anymore they can quit.

    • Bill T.

      @Kate, The only people that cops are violent with, are people that deserve it. Show them respect and you will receive respect.

  • Kate Gallagher

    John Q, you are a buffoon

  • Albro

    When a cop tells you what ot do, BLOODY WELL DO IT! OK, they had the wrong guy: do ya’ suppose that when they have the RIGHT guy he also tells them he’s the wrong guy? Cops have to control the situation, and if they tell you to come with them, DO IT! Once you show them who you really are, they’ll end it and apologize, but if you resist, you get what happens to ANYONE who resists. The mistake is regrettable, but YOU brought the ‘taser” treatment on yourself, MORON!!!! People have died resisting cops: PLAY IT SMART!

    • ToAlbro

      Police were arresting the WRONG man. Clearly this man was trying to let them in on that fact. This man did not deserve to get tased the way he did. It was completely out of bounds for the situation at hand. They wouldn’t even listen to his wife for God’s sake and cussing at her on top of for trying to stick up for him. Did they even bother to check the mans I.D. and match the information up with the suspects info? Isn’t that the point of having a computer in the squad car? Stop being a jerk to people who don’t agree with the officers and look at the situation for what it is. The cops were wrong, PERIOD. So get over it!!

    • Bill T.

      Excellent comment, Albro!

  • need justice also

    What about when a Chicago cop is tasered seven times by Forest Park cops in the back of the police station. Then Forest Park destroys evidence leaving the Chicago cop to hold the bag. Check the history of Forest Park’s abuse records. Chicago cops get all the bad press and no one investigates the small police dept.

  • Nick

    A similar occurence happened to me in northern California. I apparently looked like a man who’d escaped from prison recently. The cop said to get out of the car: I got out. He said to put my hands on the car:I put my hands on the car. He said to show him my ID: I showed him. Less than 10 minutes later I was back on the road, with an apology, an explanation, and directions to my destination. Play it smart, everything goes easy. Play it stupid, everything goes wrong. You choose.

    • John Q. Public

      EXACTLY my point, Nick!

  • kcmathews

    I must be the only here that wonders what the person looks like that the police were actually looking for. If the guy had a similar name, and was similar in appearance the cops had every right to pull the guy over and question him. If it was just his name that got him pulled over, that’s a little suspect.
    I’d love to see the video of what this guy did to set the cops over the edges of hitting this guy 11 times with a taser. While I don’t necessarily agree with Mr. Public, I can’t honestly think that a group of police officers would intentionally sit around a taser someone at a traffic stop just because they can. He had to have done SOMETHING that set these cops off, even if what he did didn’t justify the response from the cops.
    Yes, Mouthing off to the cops is perfectly legal, but harassment and resisting arrest aren’t. If the cops come to arrest you and you are innocent or the wrong person, that is for the courts to decide. It’s not for you and the police to work out on the spot. Once it’s proven that they arrested the wrong person, you file suit against the city for false imprisonment and defamation of character and you win enough money to cover your lost wages and expenses and move on with your life. Mistakes occasionally happen, don’t compound them further by acting stupid or belligerent.

  • hack

    In utopia I agree, but in todays society; Cops are like the military, shoot first ask questions later. I would imagine they had a dangerous person, who was in fact a civil person and they over-reacted. So what if the person did announced they had the wrong guy, does that give the right to give a person electricity through their body???

    • Random

      At the very least you must admit, the cops did forget the barbeque sauce.

    • Patriotism

      to hack; I am active duty military for 5 years now, my husband is also active duty military and deployed. My family memebers are or have been active military memebers, many who have fought in World War 2, Operation Iraqi Freedon, and Operation Enduring Freedom. I would really appreciate you using your freedom of speech in other ways then disrespecting those who have served this country protecting the freedoms you have. Not every cop or military member are bad nor do they “shoot first, ask questions later”, there are those have have made mistakes which make us all look bad. Your discrimination against all of us is sad. Why do we even risk our lives for people like you? Oh yeah because not everyone is as ungrateful or undeserving as you! God bless american and its troops!

  • tc

    tasers are suposed to be used for self defense not because you ran your mouth. Not supposed to be used for intimidation.

    • Bill T.

      They are also used to subdue resistant suspects. In the old days they would have cracked his skull with a nightstick for resisting. The taser is non lethal, this guy is lucky that’s all he got.

  • Robin Ray

    Using a taser on someone 11 times if front of his family, Pepper spraying a 9 year old girl, Right the Police never do anything wrong! COME ON PEOPLE!

  • Diana

    I think anyone who defends the police when they are obviously abusing their power is an overgrown p***y.

  • Jim Hamilton

    Some cops think they are perfect. to bad he didn’t kill everyone of these jerk offs in self defense.

  • James Hamilton

    These cops are criminals lock em up throw away the key. To bad he didnt kill em all in self defense

  • John Barnard

    Dont taze me bro!….Bro! you tased me, Bro, you tased me AGAIN, and AGAIN , and again!!!!!.

  • I like to read facts

    Wow is this story one sided but that is to be expected.

    1. The city and the PD do not by policy comment on pending litigation.
    2. The lawsuit says 11 times but his attorney says 6 or 7 times.
    3. The photogrpahs show probe marks from a dry stun. For those of you not aware a dry stun is when the taser is pressed againt the body and probes are not shot. While it is still effective it is considered a less efeective technique.
    4. Electricity does not shoot through your brain when tasered! Please research this youorself if you do not believe it but again electricity does not pass through your brain.
    5. Being stunned by a taser does not cause long term damage that would keep you from working. While there have been many taser related deaths you will find if you research them that in almost every case the cause of death was caused by a pre-existing medical conditon or high levels of narcotics use.
    6. In most cases like this the attorney will make sure his or her client does not work and claim that they can no longer take care of their family. It will only assist the attorney in a larger settlement to make such claims.
    7. Tasers made by Taser International all have an internal memory. You can plug them in a computer and download their information. This will show how many times the trigger was pulled and for what length of time the taser was activated while the trigger was pulled. You can also go back and check specific dates.

    With all that said I am not saying to believe him or the cops but like me if you do a little research on these things you normally fall somehwhere in the middle in believing the claims.

  • Ian Albitz

    Is it just me or is it BLATENTLY obvious that the some state or nationwide cop organization has finally clued into the idea that paying people to troll the internet and post comments to create the appearance of grassroots support for an idea might be worth spending money on.

    So many obviously “pay for post” comments here, almost like one of those cheesy ads for new age medicine.

  • Stupid Is As Stupid Does

    What kind of moron are you? You never, ever, ever have the right to resist arrest, ever! If an officer is going to DETAIN you pending an investigation, you do exactly as you are told, cooperate completely, and when they are finished with you and you aren’t the right suspect, they will let you go. You are a PERFECT example of how this guy probably acted when confronted with this situation. If so, he got exactly what he deserved, as you certainly would also!!!!!

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