Salinas (CA) - Taser International received its first major court loss today after a federal jury found it partially responsible for the death of a Salinas California man. The jury believed the company should have been more responsible in warning users about the dangers of the device and gave $1 million in compensatory and $5.2 million in punitive damages to the family of 40-year-old Robert Heston Jr.
Heston died on February 20th 2005 after he was shocked with the Taser during a scuffle with the Salinas Police Department. The jury exonerated all the police officers and found Heston to be 85% at fault because he was on methamphetamines and had an enlarged heart due to habitual drug use. This puts the actual damages against Taser at approximately $920,000.
The Salinas Police Chief Daniel Ortega has said that his department will still use Tasers, but that he plans on buying ’Taser Cams’ which will record the arrests.