Family of Steve Salinas, Killed by Police Taser, Awarded $1 Million

| by Michael Allen
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A federal jury decided on Friday that former San Jose Police Officer Barry Chickayasu used "unreasonable" force by using a Taser to repeatedly shock Steve Salinas, who was naked, unarmed and high on PCP.

Salinas died in 2006 after the confrontation with four police officers at a hotel in San Jose, California.

Three of those officers admitted that they encouraged Officer Chickayasu to tase Salinas, but claimed they didn't know he used his Taser 10 times in 93 seconds, reports the San Jose Mercury News.

This is the first time San Jose has lost a lawsuit involving a Taser-related death since the police began using the weapons in 2004. Five people have died since then after being shocked with a Taser, but their families settled with the city of San Jose for smaller amounts.

The San Jose medical examiner had previously stated that listed PCP was the cause of Salinas' death, however, during the trial, he testified that the Taser was also a cause.

"I'm just grateful the jury seen the truth," said Noreen Salinas, one of Salinas' adult children. "It's justice for my father."

Officer Chickayasu, who is not financially liable, did not attend the trial, which the Salinas' family attorney mentioned several times.

The attorney also mentioned that San Jose police guidelines say that cops are to avoid multiple Taser "applications" because a Taser can lead to death, and that drug users are at higher risk.

Source: San Jose Mercury News