Pharos-Tribune

Local News

March 20, 2013

Decision to fire Peru cop overturned

PERU — A Cass County judge Monday reversed a decision by Peru officials to fire a police officer who last year Tased a nursing home resident with Alzheimer’s disease.

The Peru Board of Works terminated officer Gregory Martin in August after determining he used excessive force against 64-year-old James Howard, a resident at Miller’s Merry Manor Nursing Home in Peru who has advanced-stage Alzheimer’s.

Martin deployed a Taser on Howard for 31 seconds in a 65-second period in June after officers and nursing home employees said Howard was combative and wouldn’t obey commands to enter an ambulance to go to the hospital.

The board determined Howard wasn’t a threat, and Martin deployed his Taser longer than was necessary.

Martin filed an appeal to the decision in September.

Superior Court II Judge Rick Maughmer ruled Monday to reverse the decision. He said in a written order there was no evidence to support the board’s finding that Martin used more force than was necessary under the circumstances.

Maughmer said Martin utilized the Taser in an effort to minimize injury to Howard, and followed police policy that determines the use of a Taser.

City Attorney Bill Berkshire said the city will appeal the decision in a state court.

It was unclear Tuesday, however, whether Martin would be reinstated as an officer in the Peru Police Department.

Berkshire said Martin should remain terminated until the city’s appeal is filed and receives a court ruling.

But Martin’s attorney, Kristina Lynn, said the reversed decision means he should be immediately reinstated and receive back wages accrued since he was fired in August.

“I believe the city should respect this decision unless there’s an order saying otherwise from a higher court,” she said Tuesday.

If the city doesn’t reinstate Martin, Lynn said she may request an order from Judge Maughmer requiring the city to do so.

After the Tasing incident in June, Howard’s wife, Virginia, sued the city, claiming the police department and city were responsible for possible neurological damage to James Howard. She also said she suffered extreme emotional trauma from seeing her husband’s injuries and “having the details of the torturous incident conveyed to her.”

Her attorney, Stephen Gross, said Tuesday the city struck a deal with Virginia Howard last month, but would not discuss details regarding the settlement.

Gross slammed Monday’s ruling, saying “Based on the testimony I heard at the Board of Works hearing, this is one of the most absurd rulings I’ve encountered in my over 40 years practicing law.”

In response to the Tasing incident, Rep. Bill Friend, R-Macy, introduced legislation this year that would require all state law enforcement officers to undergo training dealing with Alzheimer’s patients.

Friend said in an interview in January he was dismayed when he learned of the Taser incident from Howard’s family. He said Howard’s family asked him to create specific legislation for officers dealing with Alzheimer’s patients.

Carson Gerber is a Kokomo Tribune reporter. He may be reached at 765-854-6739, or by email at carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com.

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Pharos-Tribune eEdition, or our print edition

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Police Blotter: Aug. 1, 2014 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    August 1, 2014

  • Miami County struggles through computer shutdown PERU (AP) — A northern Indiana prosecutor has harshly criticized other officials in his county for not adequately dealing with computer problems that have effectively brought some business to a halt. Prosecutor Bruce Embrey said Miami County governme

    August 1, 2014

  • NWS-PT080114 Bow Fishing.jpg Man vs. fish: Niche sport takes bows, arrows to the water In the fight against Asian carp, local outdoors enthusiasts are increasingly turning to bowfishing — in which you don’t wait for the fish to come to you. You send an arrow straight to them.Bowfishing has become an increasingly popular sport according

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 2nd annual bike ride slated Saturday WINAMAC — Dozens of bike riders will take over the Panhandle Pathway Saturday for the second annual Down and Back bike ride.The 44-mile trail begins in Winamac and extends all the way to near France Park in Kenneth. Kelly Hines, spokesperson for the

    August 1, 2014

  • Trial dates moved in Wagoner clinic drug case KOKOMO — Trial dates for seven of the eight people charged in the Wagoner Clinic prescription drug case have been moved to Oct. 3.Several of the suspects, including Marilyn Wagoner, the wife of Donald Wagoner, the former head of the clinics, were set

    August 1, 2014

  • Police Blotter: July 31, 2014 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    July 31, 2014

  • NWS-PT073114 Hopper2.jpg The right track: Logansport boy advocates railroad crossing safety

    It's not uncommon to see 12-year-old Ethan Hopper sitting in a lawn chair near his father's business on 18th Street in Logansport, his cell phone pointed at a locomotive heading down the nearby tracks. The engines make up a fascination modern technol

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos 1 Link

  • Cass Co. Community Foundation eligible for grant

    The Cass County Community Foundation is eligible to receive half a million dollars from Lilly Endowment Inc. as a matching grant at some point over the course of the next couple of years.Lilly Endowment announced the sixth phase of its Giving Indiana

    July 31, 2014

  • Locals: EPA delay request too late Logansport officials say while they appreciate a state executive’s request to delay new rules on coal power plants, its timing still requires pursuing a new power plant for the city.The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published last month its Cl

    July 31, 2014

  • Supreme Court observers predict ‘wide open’ process of picking of next chief INDIANAPOLIS — State Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Dickson surprised observers in June when he decided to step down after a brief tenure in the leadership post.Another surprise may be in store when his replacement is named.A seven-member panel of

    July 31, 2014

Featured Ads
More pharostribune.com
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

Should the U.S. impose a travel ban on three West African nations in response to a growing Ebola virus outbreak?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results
eEdition