Phoenix police cleared in Tasering death of a man choking 3-year-old during exorcism


I'm Biv Dick Black, the Over Poster.
The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals cleared two Phoenix police officers of wrongful death in the repeated Tasering of a man choking his 3-year-old granddaughter during an exorcism.

A divided three-judge panel in a ruling issued from San Francisco on Tuesday upheld a lower court's ruling in favor of the officers and Taser International, the manufacturer of the stun gun.

The family of Ronald Marquez had sued Officers David Guliano and Joshua Roper for excessive force in the 2007 death and the manufacturer for failing to sufficiently warn that repeated use of the product may lead to death.

"The city has not had the opportunity to review today's ruling, but is pleased that its officers were found to be within policy," spokeswoman Toni Maccarone said. Phoenix also was named in the lawsuit.

Events unfolded in the morning hours of July 28, 2007, when the officers arrived to a home near 24th Street and McDowell Road and heard a "little girl screaming and crying."

According to court papers, officers forced their way into a barricaded bedroom and found Marquez with the motionless child in a choke-hold. He was attempting to squeeze the demon out of her, investigators later said.

The bedroom walls and furniture were smeared with blood and the man's naked 19-year-old daughter was in the corner screaming and holding a religious picture, documents show. She had been beaten by Marquez, who attempted to gouge her eye in an attempt to exorcize her demons, records show.

An officer tasered Marquez when he refused to release the child. Marquez was repeatedly tasered by one device because it appeared to have no effect on him, according to documents.

During the confrontation, Marquez kicked one of the officers in the thighs and groin. Officers were finally able to wrestle Marquez into submission. He went into cardiac arrest and later died in a hospital.

An autopsy revealed that Marquez suffered from heart disease and had cuts and bruises from his struggle with police. The cause of death was listed as "excited delirium" with no mention of the Taser device as a contributing factor.

The coroner found seven sets of Taser burns on Marquez's chest and two Taser probes embedded in his lower left chest.

The federal Appeals Court found that the officers used "significant" but reasonable force because Marquez posed an immediate threat to them and others.

The court also found the manufacturer provided sufficient warning on the use of its product.
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