COZAD, Neb. (AP) — A Nebraska man who was sitting in a swing in his sister’s backyard with his empty hands visible when a police officer shocked him with a Taser has filed an excessive force lawsuit over the videotaped encounter.
Hilario Velasquez, of Lexington, and his sister, Sarah Garrett, filed the lawsuit in federal court against Cozad Police Sgt. John Peden and the city of Cozad, The Lincoln Journal-Star reports.
The suit said the siblings were in the backyard of Garrett’s home on May 28 when the sergeant demanded to know where their brother was. Cozad Police Chief Mark Montgomery wouldn’t say why police were looking for their brother and declined to comment on the lawsuit.
When the sergeant told Velasquez he had to leave, Velasquez said they weren’t looking for him, and he didn’t have anything to do with it, a 50-second cellphone video clip shows.
“Just get up and leave,” Peden told Velasquez while pointing a Taser at him.
“No, my son’s in there,” Velasquez said, motioning to the house, a second before the sergeant shocked him, then kept verbally pressing. “Get up.”
The siblings’ attorney, Maren Chaloupka, called it an assault.
Cozad City Attorney Scott Trusdale declined to comment, saying Friday that the city had not yet received official notice of the lawsuit.