On the evening of July 26, 2008, at approximately 7:00 p.m., Daniel Humphreys, a 47-year old divorced father of two teenage girls was riding his motorcycle on State Hwy. 12 approaching the Interstate 5 Freeway interchange in Stockton California. California Highway Patrol Officer Roberto Iniguez spotted Mr. Humphreys’ motorcycle accelerating at a high rate of speed. Officer Iniguez driving a marked CHP patrol vehicle followed Mr. Humphreys west-bound on Hwy. 12 and eventually decided to effect a traffic stop. However, Mr. Humphreys continued to accelerate in an apparent attempt to evade Iniguez. Officer Iniguez continued to pursue Mr. Humphreys for several miles.
Mr. Humphreys took the on-ramp to transition from Hwy. 12 to south-bound Interstate 5. As Iniguez proceeded up the on-ramp, he noticed that Mr. Humphreys’ motorcycle had crashed coming to rest in the middle of the southbound lanes of Interstate 5. Officer Iniguez was able to traverse the south-bound lanes of traffic parking his patrol vehicle so that it was essentially facing south-bound straddling a part of the center most lane of traffic (No. 1 lane) and the dirt/grass shoulder. Iniguez immediately exited his patrol vehicle and stood behind the opened front driver’s door using it as cover. He noticed Mr. Humphreys still wearing his full-face helmet with the dark tinted face shield down obscuring his face running eastbound approximately 15 feet in front of the vehicle.
As Humphreys approached the 3-foot metal barrier at the center of the highway, Officer Iniguez could see Humphreys’ hands and that he had nothing in them. Iniguez immediately drew and fired his TASER® Model X26 Electronic Control Device (“ECD”). Two probes attached to thin wires carrying 50,000 volts of electrical current were fired from the device. Both probes struck Mr. Humphreys – one on the left side of his neck near his clavicle and the second on the left side of his lower abdomen. The ECD, which is designed to cause severe pain and muscle contractions resulting in an inability to control motor function, was immediately effective causing Mr. Humphreys to collapse to the ground like a domino, unable to use his arms to cushion his fall. Humphreys struck his head on the ground. This discharge lasted a full 5 seconds.
Once Mr. Humphreys was on the ground, Officer Iniguez Officer Iniguez repeatedly shouted commands to Humphreys not to move and to show his right hand. Humphreys did not respond to any of these commands. As a result, Officer Iniguez discharged his ECD over and over again exposing Humphreys to repeated electrical discharges from the device. In all, Officer Iniguez discharged his ECD 31 times, all of which Iniguez believed were effective in discharging electrical current into Humphreys. Mr. Humphreys was exposed to the device’s electrical current for a total of 2 minutes and 35 seconds. The total elapsed time from the first discharge to the completion of the last discharge was 7 minutes and 23 seconds.
Once a back-up officer arrived at the scene, Officer Iniguez attempted to roll Mr. Humphreys over and place him in a seated position. They were unable to do this because Mr. Humphreys’ body was limp. CPR was initiated and continued until paramedics arrived approximately 10 minutes later. An automatic external defibrillator was used in an attempt to restart Mr. Humphreys’ heart. The AED detected that Humphreys’ heart was in ventricular fibrillation – a chaotic heart rhythm in which the heart is unable to perfuse blood to the vital organs of the body (the heart rhythm most associated with an electrical injury). Ultimately, paramedics and emergency room staff were unable to revive Mr. Humphreys and he died a short time later at a local hospital.
After extensive litigation, during which Dr. Bennet Omalu, Chief Forensic Pathologist for San Jacinto County opined that the cause of Mr. Humphreys’ death was the repeated electrical discharges from Officer Iniguez’ TASER® ECD, a settlement was reached with the State of California for $1 million dollars.