CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Kannapolis, N.C., man who says he has to use a wheelchair after a confrontation with authorities last April has sued the Cabarrus County Sheriff's Office, saying the use of a Taser caused his injuries.
Dale Cook, who says he fractured his spine and cannot walk after falling from a tree, is suing in federal court and asking for $10,000 or more. Defendants in the suit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court, are listed as Cabarrus County Sheriff Brad Riley, deputy Jason Thomas and unnamed other deputies.
The sheriff's office says its officers weren't directly responsible for the injury and alleged Cook was trying to hurt himself.
The incident occurred on April 19 after Dale Cook and his wife, Tammy, got into an argument at their home on Simmons Street in Kannapolis. In the lawsuit, Cook says the argument was over furniture Dale Cook had brought home from his deceased mother's house.
Tammy Cook went to the sheriff's office and completed a statement, saying she had been bumped by her husband during the argument, according to the sheriff.. Dale Cook said that at the same time, he took the furniture back to his late mother's house, and eventually returned home.
In the suit, Dale Cook says he "needed some space" and went into his backyard and climbed into his tree stand, about 15 to 20 feet off the ground. Sheriff's deputies arrived a short time later, apparently in a follow-up to Tammy Cook's complaint, and eventually found Dale Cook in his yard, in the tree stand.
In the suit, Dale Cook acknowledges refusing to come down from the tree stand, as requested by deputies. He said he told them he was "just having marital problems" and says he was unarmed and never made any threatening gestures to anyone.
Cook said that Thomas shot his Taser without warning. Cook said he fell from the tree and was injured. In the suit, Cook's attorney, Lee Olive, says his client "is now confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life."
Read the full story at CharlotteObserver.com