The family of a Vietnam veteran from Lancaster County is suing Pennsylvania State Police and three other police departments, as well as the company Taser International. The civil suit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court alleges that police officers’ actions contributed to the 61-year-old’s death in 2010.
Lawyers and family members say Robert Neill was a decent, calm man who volunteered at his church. He was also a decorated Marine who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Lawyer Stewart Eisenberg said Neill didn’t deserve what happened to him after he called 911 to report that someone had stolen his bike.
“The police officers came to his home, they tasered him once in the chest, he fell to the ground, he started running away, they tasered him multiple additional times in the back and leg,” Eisenberg said. “And they brought him to the ground.”
Eisenberg said Neill died after suffering cardiac arrest. The attorney, who says police have refused to share information about what happened, claims police used an unnecessary amount of force on the unarmed man.
Robert Neill said he wants to know why his father died.
“Holidays and birthdays, it was really hard in November with Thanksgiving coming up and Christmas coming up, and knowing that he wasn’t going to be there and not exactly sure why,” said Neill.
Eisenberg said this is one of the first lawsuits related to a Taser death to be filed since a recent study published by the American Heart Association linked Taser shocks to cardiac arrest.
A state police spokeswoman declined comment on the suit. The Mount Joy, Susquehanna Regional, and Northwest Lancaster County police departments are also named in the suit.