In The News

HHEG Files Civil Rights Suit Against Craig Police Officers for Repeatedly Tasing Handcuffed Man who Called for Medical Care

On behalf of the firm, Rachel Kennedy & John Holland filed a civil rights lawsuit in Federal Court last week against three City of Craig police officers related to the repeated tasing of Grayson Dennis, a young man who called 911 for help with a mental health crisis. You can read the complaint here and a Westword article about the case here.

Mr. Dennis called 911 in February 2020 and reported having a nervous breakdown. Craig Police Officers Laehr, Lyons and Hashir responded to the mental health call, and after learning that Mr. Dennis was feeling depressed and suicidal, called for an ambulance. The officers knew Mr. Dennis was in the throes of a mental health breakdown and could not fully understand why he was being escorted to the ambulance by police officers. When Mr. Dennis requested the opportunity to speak with his father and girlfriend, officers refused and continued to move Mr. Dennis towards the ambulance, causing him to become upset and worsening his mental health crisis.

Rather than using the crisis intervention and de-escalation techniques this situation mandated, these officers unconscionably escalated the situation by refusing Mr. Dennis, who was unarmed and not suspected of committing any crime, the small comfort of talking to his family. Instead they yelled at him, tried to physically force him towards the ambulance, and then began tasing him right next to his heart.

After officers had tased Mr. Dennis once in the chest and handcuffed him, they then tased Mr. Dennis at least four more times, including again in the chest and near the groin. Predictably, having been tased at least five times Mr. Dennis’ blood pressure and pulse rate sky-rocketed to potentially lethal levels. He had recorded blood pressures as high as 206/154 and was suffering arrhythmias. Mr. Dennis was transported to Memorial Hospital in Craig, where he was intubated and diagnosed with acute respiratory failure before being flown via Flight for Life to a Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit.