“They used their Tasers as a cattle prod on Mr. Towns while handcuffed,” Stewart said.
As required by state law, Towns’ family has notified the city of East Point of their intent to sue.
“Mr. Towns’ killing is not about race,” Stewart said, noting that Towns and both officers were black. “It’s about police brutality … going to the extreme.”
East Point has declined to comment because of the potential litigation.
Eberhart, who resigned rather than be terminated, has not responded to telephone messages left at his home.
An attorney representing Weems, who was fired, said the former officer followed the orders of his supervisor, Eberhart, to “drive stun gun” Towns, which involves placing the prongs of the device directly on the skin to deliver the charge. Weems lawyer also said in a written statement provided to Channel 2 Action News that Towns’ medical problems caused his death and not the shocks from the Taser.
The medical examiner wrote in a report that “physical exertion and conducted electrical stimulation” contributed to his death. The report said Towns was overweight, hypertensive and had sickle cell trait.
According to the reports Weems and Eberhart turned in to the police department, their two Tasers were used a combined six times on the handcuffed Towns, including once while he was wet and sitting in a creek. There is a log on each device, however, that shows they were activated many times more, Stewart said.
The April 11 incident began when Towns’ girlfriend called police to the townhouse where she lived with their son. She reported a domestic dispute.