Tased Man Sues Police and Fire Departments

A 71-year-old man who was tased and arrested by the Vallejo Police Department in 2019, has filed a civil rights suit against the city, the police chief, three police officers, the Vallejo Fire Department and a fire captain. John Mark Raudelunas filed suit yesterday in US District Court for the Eastern District of California.

Raudelunas claims that Captain Jason Goodner failed to render aid to him following a tasing incident on August 19, 2019. He also claims Captain Goodner helped the officer who tased him, Jodi Brown, construct a cover story to justify his tasing.

Quoting from the complaint:

  • It is August 19, 2019, at approximately 5:15 p.m. at or near 1338 Nebraska Street, Vallejo, California 94590.
  • Plaintiff is driving his vehicle when another motorist throws an object at him and hits him in the head.
  • He attempts to pull over and call 911; however the motorist speeds off.
  • He pursues the motorist but is unsuccessful. It should be noted that Mr. Raudelunas’ license plate is clearly marked with a disabled person insignia.
  • The police arrive including Defendant Officer Jodi Brown, who is completely unhelpful.
  • Mr. Raudelunas provides her his license and registration amongst a stack of papers and Officer Brown refuses to take them in dereliction of her duties as a peace officer.
  • Frustrated and disrespected, Mr. Raudelunas decides to leave, gets into his car and drives home, located a short distance away, at a reasonable speed and following the rules of the road.
  • As soon as he exits his car at his house, Officer Jodi Brown shoots him point blank with her Taser without justification.
  • Mr. Raudelunas falls to the concrete ground in pain, losing control of his muscles and sustaining significant injury.
  • Mr. Raudelunas immediately notifies the police of his back problems, to which the police demonstrate a disregard to his health and safety.
  • Mr. Raudelunas likewise notifies the police that he wears hearing aids.
  • Defendant Officer Brown fails to call for any medical aid.
  • Instead, Defendant Officer Brown spends her time conducting an interview of Defendant JASON GOODNER a Vallejo Fire Department Captain to attempt to provide cover for her unlawful and egregious acts.
  • Defendant GOODNER allegedly states, per Defendant Officer Brown’s police report, “I saw an uncooperative guy at the scene of the collision and you asked for his license and registration. He threw it at you because you would not take it apart. He basically said, ‘fuck it’, I am going to leave. He backed up and it looked like he almost hit you. I was moving our engines to move it in case he backed up into us. He peeled out of the parking lot and you went after him.”
  • This statement is FALSE and is a FRAUD to attempt to shield Officer Brown from liability for her outrageous conduct.
  • The video of the incident is clear that Mr. Raudelunas never backs up at all and Officer Brown is never under any sort of threat whatsoever at any time.
  • Officer Brown likewise attempts to justify her heinous use of force on an elderly, disabled man by stating, “The driver got out of the vehicle and was ordered to get on the ground approx. three times and he refused to comply with my commands. I observed his right hand go out of view at waist band level, and believed he was going to try to open the vehicle door. I was concerned for officer safety reasons that he may try to access a weapon and the vehicle had not been searched. In addition, I was a solo officer at the time of the deployment and S-Raidelunas is 5-11 and 200lbs. I deployed my taser at SRaudelunas lower chest. S-Raudelunas fell to the ground and was detained.”
  • This statement is FALSE and is a FRAUD to attempt to shield Officer Brown from liability for her outrageous conduct.
  • In fact, Mr. Raudelunas had already closed his door and was calmly talking to Officer Brown when she shot him point blank in the chest, knowing that he was elderly, disabled, and standing on concrete.

The suit alleges a violation of the Fourth Amendment for excessive force, false arrest, false imprisonment, failure to render medical aid, conspiracy, failure to train, failure to supervise, elder abuse, assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence.

Here is a copy of the complaint:

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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