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Family of Man Struck by Car on I-25 After Being Shocked With Taser Sues Colorado Sheriff’s Deputy

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By Noelle Phillips
The Denver Post

(The Denver Post) — A Larimer County sheriff’s deputy who fired a Taser at a 28-year-old man running across Interstate 25 at night should have realized the danger of oncoming traffic and could have avoided the man’s death had he used better judgment, a lawsuit filed Monday alleges. online news

Brent Allan Thompson died Feb. 18, 2023, after being struck by a car when the Taser shock felled him in the middle of the interstate. His family sued Deputy Lorenzo Lujan for an unspecified amount in Larimer County District Court.

“Tasing someone on I-25 is a death sentence,” said Ciara Anderson, a lawyer at the Rathod Mohamedbhai firm, which represents Thompson’s parents. “Taser 101 is knowing your surroundings whenever you incapacitate someone with a Taser.”

Lujan pulled Thompson over in a traffic stop outside a motel off of I-25 in Larimer County for driving with an expired license tag, and Thompson gave the deputy a fake name when asked for identification. When the deputy informed Thompson that he was under arrest, Thompson fled toward the interstate.

Lujan pursued Thompson even though, by then, the deputy had determined Thompson’s real name and knew where he could find him later and arrest him, the lawsuit states. It was dark and there were no streetlights on the interstate ramp or the highway itself.

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Thompson jumped over a guardrail and ran onto I-25. Lujan followed and fired his Taser while Thompson was running in a northbound lane. Thompson collapsed as speeding cars were bearing down on him, the lawsuit states.

Lujan yelled expletives when he saw headlights speeding toward him and ran for safety on the other side of the interstate. A man driving a Ford Explorer ran over Thompson, who was wearing a camouflage sweatshirt and black pants and lying on the ground. The driver’s wife and three children also were in the SUV.

After Thompson was struck, the deputy handcuffed him and pulled him onto the shoulder to start CPR. Thompson was pronounced dead at a hospital.

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Chicago, Illinois, USA – March 29, 2022: Chicago Police Department officers respond to the scene of an incident. Courtesy of iStock Photo Author: MattGush

An investigation by 18th Judicial District Attorney Gordon McLaughlin cleared Lujan of any criminal wrongdoing.

However, the Thompson family says in the lawsuit that Lujan used excessive force and is responsible for their son’s unnecessary death.

“Brent was pulled over for an expired license plate and ran from a police officer and ended up with a death warrant,” his mother, Karen Kay Thompson, said Monday. “I can’t rationally justify any of that. I’m filing this lawsuit to speak for Brent and hope some justice is gained. I hope people learn from their mistakes whether they admit to it or not.”

Karen Kay Thompson said she hopes the lawsuit forces the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office to revisit its Taser policy and training so that deputies are more aware of their surroundings when they decide to shock someone. They especially should not shock with a Taser people in the middle of the interstate while traffic whizzes by at 75 mph or more, she said.

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“Maybe they should put that in their manual and get tested on it to make sure they heard it,” she said.

After the district attorney cleared Lujan of criminal charges, Larimer County Sheriff John Feyen issued a statement saying deputies do not have the luxury of hindsight and unintended consequences are a tough reality.

“Every incident provides an opportunity to reflect and grow as an agency, and this incident is no exception,” Feyen wrote. “The deputy was forced to make a choice with no easy answer: act and try to stop the suspect … or stand by passively and simply hope no innocent people got hurt. We will continue to discuss this challenging case in training and internal conversations about dynamic decision-making, safety priorities and the consequences of action or inaction.”

But the Thompson family said there should be a penalty connected to their son’s death. Brent Thompson was not a threat to the deputy or anyone else, they said.

Brent Thompson had a “heart of gold,” his mother said. He was tidy and artistic, and the night he was killed he had his cat, Simon, in the car.

David Thompson said his son was killed over a petty offense — driving with an expired tag.

“My son ended up dead. Murdered,” he said. “I never thought I would be a parent saying this. You see it on TV and now, believe it or not, here I am.”

©2024 MediaNews Group, Inc. Visit at denverpost.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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