West Richland Taser Lawsuit Settled at a Cost to City, County

West Richland Taser Lawsuit Settled at a Cost to City, County
WEST RICHLAND -- A Benton City man tased by police and severely injured will now get hundreds of thousands from local agencies.

It's a case KEPR Action News has followed from the beginning and this is a development you're hearing first from KEPR.

The lawsuit has been settled and money is due from the city of West Richland and Benton County.

The man who was tased is speaking for the first time to Action News.

"It's 50,000 volts and I'm 270 pounds. It hit me so hard I go up on my tip toes and fall flat on my head and back," said Mark Clark.

Clark is talking for the first time about the taser incident from four years ago.

"That's the one thing people don't realize is how severe it was. I had a fractured skull and brain hemorrhage and I was in intensive care with a coma," said Clark.

They key to the case was video was taken by a West Richland police officer's dash cam. Mark Clark was drunk at the time, he doesn't argue that. The video shows cops are telling him to put down his cigarette or be tased. Then Officer Brian Galusha pulls the trigger, and Mark goes down hard.

No one expected he'd get hurt so badly. Which is why Mark Clark sued. And now all sides have reached a settlement.

Action News has learned Benton County will pay $35,000 because their two sheriff's deputies were the first on the scene. West Richland will pay ten times that, on the hook for $350,000. It was a West Richland police officer who was called in for back-up and ultimately pulled the taser trigger. We're told the money should come out of insurance.

The officer who tased Mark Clark will also have to pay but there's no word on that amount.

"The medical bills, seizure medication and he's been out of work because of it. It all needed to be compensated," said Clark's attorney Bill Reinig.

KEPR asked if there are lessons learned, "Yes, I think the police need to be more careful," said Reinig.

"I think communication broke down. One officer said I was under arrest another said not under arrest. I think by the time Officer Galusha was on scene it was only 71 seconds until he decided to shoot me with a taser," said Clark.

Both Clark and his lawyer call this an isolated incident, they don't believe there's a problem with cops over using tasers in the Tri-Cites.

But the officer who shot the taser, Galusha is no longer on the force. A year after this video he was arrested for domestic violence and stepped down.

"I hope he's able to move on and put is life back together," said Clark.

Something Mark Clark knows about, he's spent the last four years in treatment, taking anger management and parenting classes. Now he's ready to move on.That's why he's happy to settle and leave the tasing incident behind him.

KEPR wanted to ask West Richland PD about lessons learned in this case and their tasing policy but couldn't reach the mayor or the police chief Thursday.