A Virginia federal jury awarded $62,000 to a man in a claim police officers illegally entered his home and tased him.
Marcus Mial called police in 2010 after his wife grabbed a knife and threatened to harm herself with it. He then told the despatcher, “never mind,” after his wife had given up the knife. A return call by the dispatcher confirmed that help was no longer necessary.
A sheriff’s deputy, nonetheless, arrived at Mial’s home and knocked on the door. Mial opened the door with his two children behind him, and refused to officers’ request to assure “everyone was safe” by entering the home. Mial said he remained calm; officers said he was upset. He then slammed the door.
The officers determined with a supervisor that they would enter the home, forcibly if necessary. A friend convinced Mial he should allow officers to make the home check. When he finally opened the door after the officers had rang the doorbell several times, they pushed their way inside. A struggle ensued and Mial was tased, losing consciousness. He was charged with two counts of assaulting officers and obstructing justice; the charges were dropped due to an improper search and seizure.
Mial sued. After a trial and two days deliberation, the jury awarded Mial $596,000 in compensatory damages and $66,500 in punitive damages against three deputies. Mial’s motion to seek attorney fees and costs was pending.
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