East Point to pay to settle Taser lawsuit

The city of East Point has agreed to pay to settle a lawsuit brought on behalf of the young son of a 24-year-old man who died after two former police officers repeatedly used Tasers on him while he was handcuffed.

The attorney for the family of Gregory Lewis Towns Jr. did not disclose Thursday how much money will be awarded Towns’ baby son, who was 7 months when his father died in April, but said the family was getting the maximum amount allowed by the city’s insurance carrier.

Beyond confirming that the maximum payment the city’s insurance policy allows is $1 million, officials declined to comment.

According to records, Towns died after a short foot chase from his girlfriend’s condo complex where officers had been dispatched because of a report of a domestic dispute on April 11. Towns was sitting on the ground, catching his breath after a chase of less than a mile, when officers caught up with him. Records show he asked asked officers at least 10 times to be allowed to rest before going with them. According to the suit and logs, former Cpl. Howard Weems and former Sgt. Marcus Eberhart activated their Tasers 14 times over the following 29 minutes with the two officers pressing the electrified prongs against Towns’ skin. Then-chief Woodrow Blue asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to look into Towns’ death and ordered an internal investigation. Based on the findings of those two investigations, Blue fired Weems and Eberhart resigned in lieu of termination.

According to reports from officers involved that day, the Tasers were used to try to force the handcuffed Towns to stand up and walk, including the time when he was sitting in a creek.

The Fulton County medical examiner said Towns’ death was a homicide due to hypertensive cardiovascular disease exacerbated by “electrical stimulation.”

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