City decides to settle over tasing death

City decides to settle over tasing death
D. Seldon Deshotels
D. Seldon Deshotels

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It was the night of November 1, 2007 that Lake Charles resident Greg Norsworthy caught 56-year-old Dr. Seldon Deshotels on his property. According to a police report Norsworthy chased Deshotels to Nelson Pointe apartments. Shortly after officers with Lake Charles Police and the Calcasieu Sheriff's Office arrived on the scene.

Deshotels attempted to run but was detained by officers. A struggle followed when attempting to handcuff Deshotels. Eventually an LCPD officer used a taser to gain control of the situation.

Deshotels collapsed and was later died in route to a local hospital. At the time of the investigation Sheriff Tony Mancuso defended the officers' actions.

"We use tasers. We will use tasers and I have a strong conviction about this its important we keep our officers safe and this is a way we can do that," said Mancuso.

Despite being found of no wrongdoing, Dr. Deshotels wife and three children are suing the Sheriff's Office, LCPD and Greg Norsworthy for loss of financial support claiming they used excessive force. Council Vice President Mark Eckard went on record saying he does not agree.

"He didn't have to break into this place he didn't have to run and he didn't have to resist. And at any time he could have stopped any of those things and therefore I don't like to reward bad behavior with a settlement and a lawsuit because that is taxpayer dollars and comes out of the general fund," said Eckard.

Avoiding going to trial the City of Lake Charles and the Sheriff's Office have agreed to pay $125,000 each. While no one believes they should have to pay they agree it's the lesser of two evils.

"I agree with you Mr. Eckard, however I think we are trying to find the best solution without spending anymore taxpayer money and this thing going to court and any liability could end up with a lot more than this amount that we've decided on," said John Ieyoub, LC City Council President.

"I do agree with you that we are trying to pay out the least amount of money but I don't agree with rewarding someone for doing something wrong," said Rodney Geyen, LC City Council.

"I still think we all agree we prefer not to make this settlement but it's really the prudent thing to do. It's and economic - dollar to cents - decision and we were potentially expose ourselves to pretty significant risk and this takes all of the risk out of it and we pay this claim, settle it and move on and move forward," said Stuart Weatherford, LC City Council.

Everyone on the council voted in favor of the settlement with the exception of Councilman Mark Eckard. Meanwhile, homeowner Greg Norsworthy is set to go to trial for the wrongful death of Dr. Seldon Deshotels.

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