An Oregon wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in federal court in the wake of last year’s death of a 30 year old Salem man who had been subdued by police officers using tasers. The family of Gregory Rold is seeking $1.5 million in compensatory damages and $4.5 million in punitive damages from the City of Salem, four of its police officers and 10 other municipal employees, according to the Salem Statesman-Journal.
According to the Statesman-Journal, Rold died last May after being taken into custody by the Salem police following a trespassing complaint. When he resisted arrest, police subdued Rold with batons and the taser, according to the newspaper. Shortly after being taken into custody, however, Rold stopped breathing. Paramedics took him to a Salem hospital where he was pronounced dead. A Marion County Grand Jury later cleared the officers involved of wrongdoing, ruling that “police officers were justified in using physical force to arrest Rold,” the newspaper reported. A state medical examiner ruled the death accidental.
In an article distributed by Courthouse News Service, Rold’s mother says her son was schizophrenic, and that officers used the tasers on him for a full 2 minutes and later knelt on him as he lay face-down. According to the Statesman-Journal, the family’s Oregon wrongful death lawsuit “claims that Rold’s civil rights were violated, that police officers were negligent in causing Rold’s death and excessive force was used against Rold.”
The Rold family’s Salem wrongful death suit offers an important reminder for families who believe a loved one has died after mistreatment by police or other authorities: official investigations are not the end of the matter. An Oregon wrongful death attorney can help surviving family members seek justice through the courts, even if an official investigation has initially cleared the law-enforcement officials involved.
Salem Statesman-Journal: Wrongful-death lawsuit targets Salem officers
Courthouse News Service: Cops Tasered Disabled Son to Death, Mom Says