Ruling clears way for lawsuit in Taser death

A ruling last week by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has cleared the way for a 2004 lawsuit against Las Vegas police to proceed to trial.

Keith Tucker, 47, died after officers responded to a call from Tucker's roommate that the man was acting erratically. He was handcuffed and on his stomach when officers shocked him with a Taser.

A medical examiner ruled Tucker died from cardiac arrest during "restraint procedures," which included the use of the Taser. A coroner's inquest jury ruled the death "excusable."

Tucker's father filed a lawsuit against the officers, the Metropolitan Police Department and Taser International, Inc. The officers appealed a ruling by a U.S. District Court judge, but the appeals court struck down part of the appeal.

A date for a jury trial has not been set.

The death prompted the department to overhaul how its officers use the device.

Contact reporter Lawrence Mower at or 702-383-0440.