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0 Man fires back with $2M suit after Taser attack by Off-duty deputies

Since Ralph Williams Jr. was Tased by an off-duty Prince George’s County sheriff’s deputy a year ago after an event at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Forestville, he said he has experienced nightmares and insomnia.

“I haven’t even been able to go back to the place since it happened,” Williams said. “I couldn’t go to the hospital, since I don’t have health insurance. It would just be another bill.”
Williams has filed a $2 million lawsuit(see link below) against Forestville-based SPX Building Corp., which rents out the Knights of Columbus Hall and employed the deputies for security. 

In the case, which is scheduled for a jury trial July 25 in Prince George’s County Circuit Court, he claims charges of assault, battery false imprisonment and negligence.
Williams is not suing the Prince George’s County Office of the Sheriff, because the deputies were acting as employees of the building owner, not the sheriff’s office, during the incident.
On July 11, 2010, Williams, a Baltimore resident, was leaving a party at the Forestville hall. 

He said he was talking to some friends from out of town when an off-duty Prince George’s County sheriff’s deputy, who was working security for the event, cursed and got into an argument with him.
After 20 to 30 minutes, Williams began to walk away, when he said the deputy, referred to as “Lt. Saunders” in the lawsuit, stepped into his way, while a second off-duty deputy, Cpl. Lee, shot him in the back with a Taser. Williams’ attorney, Jimmy Bell, whose office is in Bowie, said they did not have the first names of the deputies.
“[The first deputy] said some derogatory things to me, and I said some things back to her,” Williams said. “We continued to argue for a little while, but there was a distance between us, it wasn’t like we were arguing up close.”
Representatives for SPX Building Corp. declined to comment on the case.
Mark Spencer, the inspector general for the county sheriff’s office, confirmed that the two deputies named in the lawsuit are currently employed by his office, but pointed out that the deputies were not named as defendants. He said his office is conducting an internal investigation into the incident.
According to the lawsuit, Williams claims the deputies did not follow guidelines put forth by Maryland Attorney General’s Task Force on Electronic Weapons issued in December 2009.
“Officers should be permitted to use [electronic weapons] only when an individual poses an imminent threat of physical injury to themselves or others,” the guidelines say.

Williams also said that the deputy who Tased him pulled the metal barbs out of his skin himself, which is against the attorney general’s Taser recommendations that dictate that they should be treated as “a biohazard” and removed only by trained individuals.
Spencer said his office is aware of the recommendations for electronic weapon use.
“At present we are looking at all of our standards in terms of general orders and best practice standards,” Spencer said. “We are aware of the attorney general’s published standards and guidelines in the use of ECW weapons, but we don’t see them as mandates.”

Bell said he and his client filed a complaint with the Prince George’s County Office of the Sheriff, but does not know if any action was taken as a result.
“What I do know is that a jury will hear the case on July 25, and we’ll let the chips fall where they may,” Bell said.
Spencer said he was unaware of an official complaint made to the sheriff’s office, but that an investigation was already launched when the office learned of the lawsuit.

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