Chad Tylecki takes case against Lewes police, Taser to federal court
LEWES/WILMINGTON — Milton resident Chad Tylecki’s lawsuit against the City of Lewes, Lewes Police Department, Taser International and other defendants is scheduled to start this month in federal District Court in Wilmington. The jury trial is expected to take three days.
In court documents Tylecki said Lt. Jim Azato unnecessarily used a Taser to shock him while he was handcuffed and shackled. Tylecki alleges he suffered permanent injuries stemming from his January 2008 arrest in Lewes, when he was in the marsh area off Savannah Road near Fisherman’s Wharf.
Tylecki is seeking $ 500,000 in damages and further relief. The trial had been set to start in July, but was delayed until Monday, Sept. 24, because of a backlog of federal cases.
Also named as defendants in the case are Delaware State Police Trooper Cpl. Matt Blakeman, and then-Lewes Police Chief Ronald “Beau” Gooch.
Basis of lawsuit
In court documents,Tylecki alleges that while waiting for his mother to pick him up, he was confronted by Azato and Blakeman.
The officers ordered Tylecki out of the marsh; he says he complied without resistance.
The suit contends officers violently threw Tylecki to the ground and pushed his head and face into the asphalt.
Court documents state this was done without giving Tylecki an order to get on the ground and that he in no way resisted being taken into custody or handcuffed behind his back with his legs shackled.
The lawsuit states as a result of facial lacerations, injuries to his teeth and a nasal fracture, he was taken in a police cruiser to Beebe Medical Center.
While in an examination room, Azato told Tylecki he wanted a blood draw, and Tylecki said he would not give his consent.
“At this point, upon hearing of the plaintiff’s refusal to allow defendant Azato to take his blood, plaintiff, while still handcuffed and legs shackled, was subjected to multiple Taser shocks from Azato, who was using a conducted-energy weapon manufactured, designed and sold by defendant Taser International Inc.,” court documents state.
Defense: Police action justified
Dan Griffith, a Wilmington-based attorney defending Azato, Gooch, and City of Lewes, said in an interview there’s no evidence of wrongdoing by his clients.
Griffith said Tylecki was intoxicated, and he resisted efforts to administer first aid.
He said Tylecki’s case is nothing more than an allegation and a complaint. Griffith said Tylecki’s attorney, Patrick Geckle, hasn’t proven any wrong doing, nor would he be able to do so.
Griffith said the incident at the hospital took place as it did because Tylecki committed a criminal act and violently resisted arrest.
According to the suit, at no time did Tylecki present a risk of harm to Azato, and he was not attempting to escape.
“The use of the Taser stun gun device by Azato was not done for any legitimate law enforcement purpose but was done purely to inflict wanton, unnecessary and excessive force, pain and injury,” the lawsuit states.
Within hours of being placed in a cell at Sussex Correctional Institution, Tylecki suffered a grand mal seizure, and while being transported from jail back to Beebe, he suffered two additional grand mal seizures, the suit states.
At the hospital, he continued to suffer seizures and has been diagnosed with renal failure, rapid break*down of skeletal muscle tissue, epileptic seizure disorder and other injuries, according to court documents.
“As a direct and proximate result of the actions of all defendants, Chad Tylecki suffered and continues to suffer physical and psychological harm, pain and suffering, some of which may be permanent,” the suit states.
Griffith contends information in Tylecki’s complaint about being restrained when he was Tasered is inaccurate.
“He was being administered first aid, which he resisted,” Griffith said. He said Tylecki’s intoxication and belligerence led to use of the Taser, and it was the officers’ efforts to calm him that has resulted in litigation.
Re: Chad Tylecki takes case against Lewes police, Taser to federal court
LEWES, Del. - After nearly five years, two police officers finally have closure, following an incident where they were accused of using excessive force. A federal jury found that Lieutenant James Azato of Lewes Police Department and Corporal Matthew Blakemen of Delaware State Police were justified in the amount of force they used when arresting Chad Tylecki on January 13th 2008.
According to the testimony about the day of his arrest, the Lewes Police Department responded to a call about a disturbance at the Irish Eyes Bar & Restaurant involving Tylecki, who had fled from the scene. It says that during the arrest, Tylecki struggled with officers, leading to a chin injury. During the testimony, witnesses said that, while he getting treated at Beebe Medical Center, Tylecki was combative, intoxicated, and physically resisting, so much so that police had to use a taser against him.
Tylecki filed the lawsuit in January of 2010, claiming that he had been violently thrown to the ground, and tased for no reason. He was looking for $500,000 in damages.