Oct. 17--The mother of a Punxsutawney man sued the state police today claiming that the death two years ago of her son was the result of improper use of force and a Taser.
The lawsuit in U.S. District Court, filed by Barbara J. Wingard, said that her son, Troy Robert Lee Hooftallen, was at his girlfriend's house when he had a bad reaction to the Mucinex DM he took for bowel problems. A family member called 911, and police and an ambulance were dispatched.
The troopers arrived first, finding Mr. Hooftallen sitting but disoriented, the complaint said. The troopers "decided to tease and taunt Mr. Hooftallen until he finally took a swing" at one of them, it said.
Police then tackled him, shocked him repeatedly with a Taser, handcuffed him and kneeled on his throat and back, the complaint said.
Mr. Hooftallen, 36, went into respiratory and cardiac arrest, it said. He was hospitalized and pronounced dead the next day.
An autopsy by the Allegheny County Medical Examiner concluded that Mr. Hooftallen died "as a result of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease while being both physically and electrically (TASER) restrained during a physical confrontation with the Pennsylvania State Police."
Ms. Wingard sued the state, two unnamed troopers, and Taser International, which makes the device. The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
Rich Lord: [email protected] or 412-263-1542
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