Family sues Greenville over man's stun gun death - FOX Carolina 21

Family sues Greenville over man's stun gun death

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The family of a Greenville man who died during a struggle with police two years ago filed a lawsuit against the city.

On Aug. 9, 2010, two Greenville police officers went to the home of Andrew Torres to serve him with involuntary commitment papers when police said he became combative. Officers said they eventually were forced to shock Torres with a stun gun.

Days later, investigators ruled Torres' death a homicide, saying that prolonged physical exertion, possibly related to the altercation with police, contributed to his death.

The wrongful-death lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court, named the City of Greenville, Greenville Police Chief Terri Wilfong and officers Dale Dirton, Kevin Hill and Eric Koepke, as defendants. It claimed that Torres' Fourth and 14th Amendment rights were violated, and that officers used excessive force and improper physical restraint techniques.

The lawsuit also claimed that city officials failed to develop adequate policies for taking into custody people in medical crisis.

Greenville City Attorney Ron McKinney said in a statement to FOX Carolina that officers acted appropriately while trying to take Torres into custody.

"Officers on the scene were carrying out the instruction of a commitment order issued by a court in response to the threatened family's request," McKinney said. "Once the record is fully developed, we believe the record will vindicate the reasonableness of officers' actions."

In the days that followed Torres' death, Wilfong said officers would be trained in crisis intervention.

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