Lawsuit filed over man tasered before jumping off Monroe St. Bridge

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by KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on July 26, 2010 at 1:28 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 26 at 6:14 PM

SPOKANE -- A federal lawsuit was filed Monday in the case of a suicidal man who fell to his death after he was tasered by Spokane Police.

On July 27, 2007, Joshua Levy perched himself on Downtown Spokane's Monroe Street Bridge, where he stayed for 20 hours. Family members say Levy battled mental illness most of his life, and had been released from days Western State Hospital days prior.

Spokane Police closed the bridge and tried to negotiate with Levy to get him to safety. After 20 hours, they convinced him to step down off the ledge to urinate. In an attempt to disable him, officers deployed a taser at Levy, who was hit with one of two prongs. Fleeing from officers' outreached hands, Levy jumped over the side of the bridge and fell to his death.

Monday, local attorney Breann Beggs spoke on behalf of the estate of Levy, stating the lawsuit is against the City of Spokane, Spokane County, and other officials.

The lawsuit alleges federal civil rights violations. Beggs says the federal lawsuit is based on questionable police actions during the incident, and discrepancies between police reports and video shot that day. According to the lawsuit, officers should not have rushed to use a taser on Levy, and police failed to notify Levy's family before attempting to disable him. Beggs cites KREM 2’s video which shows two tasers missing, Levy going onto his perch and then he jumps.

In January, family members filed a $1.7 million claim against the City of Spokane, claiming negligence and failure to follow police standards.

Chief Anne Kirkpatrick released this statement on Monday: “I know the officers spent 20 hours trying to help Mr. Levy. My heart goes out to his family and to my officers who tried to help him. It was a tragedy for everyone.”

Attorney for the City of Spokane, Rocky Treppiedi, told KREM 2 News he has not seen the lawsuit and therefore could not comment.

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