Oxford settles Taser lawsuit

Oxford and the police officers who tased Mary and Charles Piskura’s son in 2008 settled a wrongful death lawsuit Wednesday for an undisclosed amount, according to court documents.

The settlement amount has not been disclosed because the parties haven’t yet signed the documents, according to Oxford City Manager Doug Elliott. The Piskuras had been seeking in excess of $50,000 against the city.

The city’s insurance policy will pay the settlement.

Craig Bashein, an attorney for the Piskuras, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Police Chief Bob Holzworth said the settlement is a relief.

“It will be very nice to have this protracted lawsuit involving OPD personnel resolved, as pending litigation is certainly a compounding operational consideration,” he said. “Speaking for OPD personnel, I’m very glad this is behind us.”

In April 2008, 24-year-old Kevin Piskura was shot with a Taser outside the Brick Street Bar at around 2 a.m., while police were trying to break up a fight. Piskura, of Chicago, went into cardiac arrest at the scene and died five days later at University Hospital in Cincinnati.

The allegations against the city and police department are that excessive force was used and the city failed to adequately train, supervise and control its employees, among other complaints.

The Piskuras are proceeding with a products liability and wrongful death case against Taser International.

The lawsuit against Taser International Inc. claims the Scottsdale, Ariz., company manufactured a defective and dangerous product.

The company sought to have the case dismissed for a number of reasons, including evidence they have that shows two prongs allegedly didn’t enter Piskura’s body, so no electrical charge could have caused his heart to stop.

Magistrate Karen L. Litkovitz, in a ruling in October, said there is also evidence to the contrary. Several people at the scene and in the emergency room have said two marks from the Taser darts could be seen on the young man’s body.

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