Alleged Eyeball Tasing Prompts Federal Lawsuit
By Mike Perleberg
(Harrison, Oh.) – A Harrison man is suing a sheriff’s deputy and an Ohio highway patrolman claiming he was tased in the eyeball.
Matthew David Kelly, 24, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati on April 2.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that on May 25, 2013, Kelly was asleep in the passenger seat of a truck during a drunk driving traffic stop on Interstate 71 in Fayette County, Ohio.
Kelly was startled when he was woken up by Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Bryan Cook, the complaint claims. He began flailing his arms.
According to the lawsuit, that’s when Fayette County Deputy Clinton Sines drew his taser, opened the passenger door and shouted at Kelly to get out and show his hands. Sines attempted to pull Kelly out of the vehicle, but did not realize that his seatbelt was still on.
Sines warned he would taze Kelly. The deputy then pulled on him again, but lost his grip. That’s when the taser was fired, with one of the prongs becoming lodged in Kelly’s right eye.
“Get on the ground. Get on the ground now. I’ll do it again,” Sines stated, according to the federal lawsuit.
Kelly covered his face and fell back into the seat, at which time the second shock was allegedly triggered by Sines.
Sines then realized Kelly was still in his seatbelt. Cook released the belt. Kelly was transported to a hospital where the taser prong was removed from his eye.
According to the complaint, Kelly’s retina was permanently damaged and he suffered the loss of nearly all sight in his right eye. The suit also claims that Kelly suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, psychological injuries, and loss of enjoyment in his life.
The lawsuit demands $20 million in damages; $5 million on each of four counts, according to The Dispatch.
Sines is accused in the complaint of using excessive force while Cook is accused of failing to prevent the deputy from deploying his taser.
Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Standforth is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit for failing to train Sines properly.