EAST POINT, Ga. – A lawsuit is pending against East Point police following the death of a man stunned by a police Taser, the man's family says.
East Point police say they responded to a 911 call for domestic violence on April 11. When an officer arrived, he confronted 24-year-old Gregory Towns, who authorities say ran. The department says they then used a Taser to try and subdue Towns.
The family's attorney, Chris Stewart, has already given the city notice that they plan to file a lawsuit.
"The biggest thing the family wants to know why their son was electrocuted to death," Stewart told 11Alive's Blayne Alexander. "Every witness is saying the same thing -- they're all saying he was cuffed behind his back, on the ground getting Tased over and over again - and that led to his death."
11Alive News obtained a copy of Towns' death certificate. In the document, the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office lists as the cause of death: hypertensive cardiovascular disease exacerbated by physical exertion and conducted electrical stimulation.
Alexander spoke with an investigator from the ME's office, who explained heart condition, extensive physical activity and electrocution all contributed to Towns' death.
"Which means he was shocked to death," Stewart said.
The death certificate also lists Sickle Cell trait, dehydration and obesity as significant contributing conditions. But the family's attorney is also focusing on one word listed under manner of death: homicide.
"It's significant because the death certificate easily could have said that he died of natural causes, but instead it's been ruled a homicide," Stewart said.
GBI spokesperson Sherry Lang says that in itself does not prove any wrongdoing. The agency stepped in to investigate Towns' death at the request of East Point police.
"A lot of people get that confused with murder, and murder is actually a criminal charge," Lang said. "All homicide means is that a person caused another person's death. It doesn't necessarily mean that a crime has been committed."
An East Point police spokesperson said that there had been at least six domestic violence calls regarding Towns since 2010. One of those resulted in his arrest.
The two officers involved in the April 11 incident have been placed on paid administrative leave.
The GBI is expected to turn over the results of its investigation to the district attorney on Tuesday.