Sheriff, Garfield County could get zapped by Taser incident
Glenwood Springs Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorad
GARFIELD COUNTY, Colorado – Danny Martin filed a lawsuit in federal court Friday claiming he was unnecessarily shot with a Taser twice by a Garfield County deputy during a 2006 traffic stop.
The complaint says Martin was riding as a passenger in a white Pontiac driven by his girlfriend. It says that a deputy, who no longer works with the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, pulled the vehicle over on Oct. 3, 2006, near the Garfield County Regional Airport while investigating a property theft.
Martin denied any involvement in the previous day’s theft but the deputy placed him under arrest for a Mesa County warrant for driving with a license under restraint, the complaint says.
The complaint says the deputy shot Martin with the Taser twice in the chest during the arrest. Martin lived in Garfield County at the time but now lives in Sulphur, Okla.
“The Taser was administered to Martin’s chest, directly above his heart,” the complaint says. “The use of the Taser was unneccessary, as Martin was not resisting arrest.”
Martin claims he suffered coronary and spinal cord injuries for which he continues to need treatment. He was never convicted of any theft-related charges, the complaint says.
“The decision to administer a Taser to Martin’s heart when other, less-than-lethal force was available, was excessive under the circumstances,” the complaint says.
The deputy, Brandon Pariscoff, was fired in November 2007 for reasons including allegations of dishonesty. Pariscoff said the allegations were false and that he was fired unfairly in retaliation for turning in a dope-smoking deputy district attorney.
The prosecutor he accused of smoking marijuana was terminated from her job with the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office less than a month earlier. Pariscoff said the woman falsely accused him of making unwanted advances toward her in a patrol vehicle just days after he turned her in.
The legal complaint over the 2006 traffic stop was filed for Martin by Anthony Viorst, of the Denver-based Viorst Law Offices. It names Pariscoff, Sheriff Lou Vallario and the Garfield County Board of County Commissioners as defendants. It asks for a judgment against the defendants and damages in an amount to be determined at trial. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Lewis T. Babcock.
Viorst and Vallario didn’t return phone messages Monday.
The lawsuit alleges Pariscoff’s use of the Taser under the circumstances was meant to hurt Martin and was done without regard to his constitutional rights protecting against unreasonable seizures. It adds that Sheriff Lou Vallario and Garfield County failed to adequately train and supervise Pariscoff.
Vallario is also a defendant in three other ongoing lawsuits alleging improper procedures at the Garfield County Jail and another by a former jail employee alleging harassment and other misconduct.
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