The parents of Audrecas Davis filed a lawsuit against DeKalb County on March 14, claiming their son died a wrongful death due to excessive police force used during an incident that occurred last year at a Budget Inn and Suites on Chamblee Tucker Road.
The plaintiffs, Jimmy Davis and Annie Davis, are suing for wrongful death, personal injuries, funeral expenses and punitive damages.
According to the lawsuit, 29-year-old Audrecas Davis was a registered guest at the Budget Inn and Suites on May 9, 2010, when 911 dispatchers were called because it appeared as though he was having a seizure.
When EMS arrived Davis resisted being restrained to a backboard and taken for medical treatment so the rescue team called the DeKalb County Police Department for assistance.
Eight officers arrived on the scene including Deputy Chief of Police Frank Kliesrath, Sergeant Bernard Gailes, and Officers Christopher Poythress and Keith Cintron.
The lawsuit states that at one point, after already being Tased three times Davis “yelled ‘OK. OK,’” but Poythress Tased him three more times. Both Poythress and Cintron were ordered by Kliesrath and Gailes to use their Tasers throughout the incident. Davis was later taken to DeKalb Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
“I keep asking the same thing, ‘Why did they use a Taser on him?’ If you look through the policy manual, they violated many of the policies in the manual. There was never a need to Taser him,” said Attorney Robert A. Moss, who is representing the family.
“They had two different people Taser him and two different officers direct others to Taser him, and that’s all a direct violation of the policy…he did nothing wrong and he’s Tasered six times?” Moss said.
A report by the police department’s Internal Review Board said the officers were justified to use Tasers in the case of both Davis and Sukeba Olawunmi, a woman who also died under similar circumstances.
The board, which is made up of investigators, voted to clear the officers involved and agreed that no policies were violated.
“As chief of police, I stand behind the use of the Taser as an alternative to deadly force,” said DeKalb Police Chief William O’Brien. “While both of these incidents were extremely unfortunate in that they resulted in death, I know my officers followed the proper protocols.”
According to the Medical Examiner’s Report from July 2010, Davis suffered from heart disease and the Taser was not a direct cause of his death.
“Concerning the Taser, discomfort related to the use of this weapon probably caused sympathetic nervous system discharge, further stressing a heart with advanced established disease,” the report stated. “While the Taser did not directly cause his death, in conjunction with his many other maladies they collectively followed a common road ending in his demise.”