A Thetford woman who witnessed her longtime boyfriend die after he was struck by a charge from a state police stun gun wants to sue state police.
Police say he had threatened to harm himself or others.
But the state says the case should be dismissed because the woman wasn’t shot or threatened by the gun.
Theresa Davidonis says her partner, Macadam Mason, was prone to emotionally disturbing seizures.
She says in her filing in Orange County civil court that Mason called Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center on June 20 to report that he was having such an episode.
The hospital called state police and Trooper David Shaffer was dispatched. Davidonis says Mason did not have a weapon and had his hands up. She says the trooper ignored her pleas not to fire his stun gun.
The gun hit Mason in the chest as Davidonis watched. The New Hampshire Medical Examiner ruled that Mason died from the gun’s electrical charge.
Davidonis says she suffered by watching her boyfriend die. Her attorney, Tom Costello, argued in court that the judge should let the case proceed.
"She’s entitled to recover for the serious significant injury she suffered to her person by being present next to her lifelong partner when he was shot in the heart with a TASER by a police officer who had disregarded her instructions after it had been accepted by his superiors, and invaded her property in a violent way and shot him in the heart, contrary to the instructions of the TASER company," Costello said.
But Jana Brown, of the attorney general’s office, says Davidonis has no standing to sue because Davidonis was not injured in the incident.
She says Davidonis has not shown in her complaint that she was in harm’s way at the time, and has not provided evidence of severe emotional distress in the aftermath,
"We’re not arguing the facts in terms of about what actually happened in this matter. We’re asking the court to assess whether or not the client has included the necessary elements of a prima facie case in her complaint. So the state’s argument at this point is that simply the necessary facts are not alleged in the complaint."
Attorney Costello says both Mason and Davidonis were harmed by police negligence, which he says he can prove through the lawsuit.
Costello also wants Judge Timothy Tomasi to order the results of the autopsy on Mason to be released to him and his client.
The judge is expected to rule in about two weeks on whether Davidonis may move forward with her case.