Civil Liberties

Man Tasered, Shot to Death After Father Calls 911 About Depression, Lawsuit Alleges

Sheriff's department says it was responding to a call about a family fight


shot by cop

The family of a man who was Tasered and shot to death by a sheriff's deputy in Stanislaus County is suing the department in federal court. It happened  a year ago, and a local news report at the time indicated the family called 911 because the man, George Ramirez, was suffering from depression and making suicidal threats. (Another report characterized the incident as a "scuffle" between Ramirez and a deputy). The family claims in the lawsuit the responding deputy, Art Parra, asked for Martinez's whereabouts but not why 911 was called. According to Courthouse News:

Parra found Ramirez on the couch watching television, unaware that his family had called 911. Parra confirmed his identity and placed him under arrest by ordering him to stand up and turn around, according to the complaint.

"In the process of standing up and complying with orders, Ramirez asked Parra why he was under arrest and if he could see his credentials," the complaint states.

"Parra refused to respond and again ordered Ramirez to turn around, demanding Ramirez put his hands behind his back.

"Ramirez complied with the orders of Parra.

"Parra then demanded Ramirez to put his hands closer together behind his back.

"Ramirez turned around and asked Parra in a calm, non-threatening manner to identify himself.

"At this time, and without providing any warning, Parra withdrew his Taser gun from his holster and deployed two darts into Ramirez's chest and activated the Taser. Ramirez fell to the floor.

Ramirez stood up after being Tasered, dazed and confused, but still non-violent, the family says in the complaint. Parra warned Ramirez that he could shoot him, the complaint states.

"Ramirez raised his arms and said 'Shoot me.'
"At this time, Parra withdrew his firearm from his holster and shot four bullets at Ramirez.

"Parra was approximately eight feet away at the time he fired four shots at Ramirez, and three bullets struck Ramirez.

The sheriff's office said they were responding to a call of a family fight, and County Counsel called the sum the family was seeking, $61 million, excessive, according to the Modesto Bee, which also notes the shooting happened less than a week after one of the department's sheriff's deputy was killed and another injured by a gunman in a Modesto apartment building. 50 deputies and the sheriff were on the scene after Ramirez was shot and killed.