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Ohio family settles lawsuit over Taser death

– The family of a Cincinnati father of eight who died after being shocked in the chest with a Taser stun gun has settled its federal civil rights lawsuit against a suburban police department, the family’s attorneys said Thursday.

The family of Corey McGinnis, 35, agreed to settle its June 2013 wrongful-death lawsuit against North College Hill police for $650,000, plus a few Taser policy changes at the department, Cincinnati civil rights lawyer Al Gerhardstein said.

Attorneys for North College Hill police did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

The case had been scheduled for trial to begin in December.

Police were responding to calls about a fight and shots fired at a basketball game on the afternoon of June 26, 2012, when McGinnis was shocked with a Taser.

The family’s lawyers say McGinnis had been playing ball with two of his children and was unarmed, shirtless and posing no threat when he was hit in the chest, contrary to Taser’s own recommendations that upper-torso shots can cause cardiac arrest.

McGinnis died in the hospital five days later.

The family’s lawyers also say police had not regularly tested the Taser, and testing later showed it was emitting higher voltage than manufacturer specifications.

He said North College Hill police agreed to change some of their Taser policies, including adding the manufacturer’s preferred target zone and implementing reforms through a neutral expert, with input from Gerhardstein.

One of the biggest reasons McGinnis’ family sued was to help improve Taser policies and training, Gerhardstein said in a statement.

He commended North College Hill police for agreeing to changes.

“The settlement sends a message to all local law enforcement agencies that they should honor the preferred target zone, make sure officers are competent with the weapon and do thorough investigations,” he said.

Konrad Kircher, another attorney representing McGinnis’ family, said the settlement money will help support his eight children.

The family’s lawsuit described McGinnis as an active and involved father who cared for all of his children.

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