Family to Sue After Police Taser Video Released in Probe of Florida Man's Death

The parents of a Florida man whose death was captured on graphic body-camera footage after he was stunned with Tasers repeatedly by Georgia police officers said today, through a lawyer, that they intended to file a civil suit and would request the Justice Department's involvement.

"The videos today gave us the answer because what you see is a man in the backseat having a mental breakdown," said L. Chris Stewart, a lawyer for the family of Chase Sherman. "The man was handcuffed in the backseat of a car but when he didn't comply, they whip out their Tasers and they start Tasering him multiple times."

On Nov. 20, 2015, around 9 p.m., Chase Sherman, 32, of Destin, Florida, was traveling in a rental car with his mother, Mary Ann Sherman; father, Kevin Sherman; and girlfriend Patricia Galloway when he began hallucinating and fighting to get out of the vehicle, Stewart and his family said.

"He didn't know us," Kevin Sherman said today. "He yelled to 911, 'They're kidnapping me.'"

The family was on their way back to Florida, after having returned from a wedding overseas and landing in Atlanta. According to a Coweta County Sheriff's Department police report, officers said that Chase Sherman's family had informed them that he'd been "erratic" on the flight to Atlanta so they'd opted to rent a car and drive home rather than take the next flight to Florida.

"He ended up further breaking down while driving so they did what anybody would do, call for help," Stewart said in a news conference today.

In a 911 call released today, Mary Ann Sherman could be heard telling a dispatcher that Chase Sherman was "on some kind of drug," spelling the word "spice," a synthetic marijuana. The family was parked on the side of a Georgia interstate.

"My son is freaking out. ... My husband is trying to hold him. He's fighting us. ... We need help," she told the 911 dispatcher. "He's crazy, yelling. ... He's hallucinating. We need help. He needs to be taken to a mental hospital. He's going to kill us all if we don't get him help. ... He's bit his girlfriend really bad. ... He tried to jump out of the vehicle."

Stewart said today the family did not yet have all the facts behind what had led to the breakdown or results of a toxicology test.

In the police report, the two sheriff's deputies first on the scene said the rental Jeep Patriot was parked close to the center median wall, with the car's left side about 2 feet from the wall. Chase and Kevin Sherman were in the backseat, according to the report, and Mary Ann Sherman and Galloway were in the back.

One officer managed to handcuff Chase Sherman with his hands in front of him and medical personnel was called.

Officers said while they tried to restrain Chase Sherman in the back of the car, he fluctuated from calm to violent, twisting his arms around, lunging and kicking at them and grabbing their Tasers.

On body-camera footage, one officer could be seen struggling with Chase Sherman as Mary Ann Sherman and Galloway watched from their front seats.

"Stop fighting," the officer yelled. And then, "He's got my Taser! ... Let go of my Taser!"

In their report, officers said they'd used their Tasers on Chase Sherman, including on his back and left thigh, as they fought to retrieve the officer's Taser.

On video, Chase Sherman at one point can be heard saying, "I quit, I quit," after officers use Tasers on him.

The report said that one officer also had "delivered several open hand strikes" to Chase Sherman's head area.

After medical personnel arrived, an EMT put his knee on Chase Sherman's back as an officer knelt on his upper right arm. Shortly afterward, according to the report, the officers and EMT realized Chase Sherman was no longer breathing and began CPR.

The Coweta County Medical Examiner's Office ruled Chase Sherman's death a homicide and said it had been caused by "sudden death during an altercation with law enforcement with several trigger pulls of an electronic control device, prone positioning on the floor of a motor vehicle and compression of the torso by the body weight of another individual."

In a statement today, the Coweta County District Attorney's Office, which released the videos, said in a statement that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation had finished its probe of the case and had asked the office to review it.

"The review of this case is not complete, the investigation is ongoing and a final decision has not been made concerning the outcome of this case. ... This case will be evaluated closely by examining the facts and applicable law before any conclusion is formed," District Attorney Peter J. Skandalakis said.

Stewart said he and the family would be meeting with the District Attorney's Office to discuss the case. The deputies identified in the police report -- J.D. Sepanski and S.F. Smith -- have not been suspended, according to Col. James Yarbrough with the county Sheriff's Office. An attorney for the Sheriff's Office said the agency did not comment on pending or threatened litigation.

Kevin Sherman said for him, the truth was in the videotapes released today.

"I saw the tape. I was shocked. ... This boy did not deserve what he got. This is a cruel punishment. It's just not right," he said. "We want this county to say 'Our officers screwed up.' That's what I want and these guys have to pay the price."

The Associated Press and ABC News' Jason Volack, Brandon Baur and John Bentley contributed to this story.

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