Taser lawsuit filed against San Juan Co. sheriff's deputies

Posted at: 10/09/2013 6:50 PM
By: Ashley McElroy, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Did sheriff's deputies in San Juan County go too far when they used a Taser on a 75-year-old man?

A new lawsuit claims the jolt from the Taser two years ago has caused permanent health problems.

"I got hurt and I’m still hurt," said Joe Ray Martinez.

Martinez says before he was zapped by a Taser two years ago, he didn't need to walk with a cane.

The problem began when his son, Martin, failed to pull over for deputies while riding his four-wheeler. Instead, he barricaded himself in his home, near Aztec, and called his father.

"He said they're trying to fire at me but I thought he said a fire. I thought the house was on fire," said Martinez.

In the deputies’ dashcam, you can see Joe pulling up to the house, being struck with a Taser and falling to the ground.

According to the sheriff's department, deputies ordered Joe to get on the ground.  When that didn't happen, they used the Taser.

"He was going to keep going to the house which would've been a much more dangerous situation having two individuals at the time," said Captain Brice Current.

The sheriff's department says it's one of the safest ways to get control of a situation.

"He could've been hurt worse fighting with the deputies or falling to the ground or anything else and often times that's the safest way to get them to the ground and get handcuffs on him is by ways of Taser," said Current. 

But Joe says he couldn't hear the deputy’s directions.  He thinks the use of force was excessive.

"I hope that these things don't happen to someone else because it's a very sad situation," said Martinez.

Deputies originally charged Joe Ray Martinez with resisting and obstructing an officer, but those charges were later dropped.