ARLINGTON, TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — Constitutional rights lawyer Dean Malone filed suit in federal court June 25 on behalf of the family of Gabriel Olivas, the man who was killed after dousing gasoline on himself and being tased by Arlington police in 2017.
On July 10, 2017, police received a call from a family member of Olivas after he made threats to commit suicide in his Arlington home by pouring gasoline and lighting himself on fire.
According to Malone’s news release, the three officers who entered the home smelled gasoline and at one point saw Olivas douse himself with gasoline.
One officer told the other officers that Olivas would catch fire if they tased him. Despite that information, the other two officers shot their tasers at Olivas, catching him and the home on fire.
At the time, responding officers said they were talking to him when he allegedly jumped up and that’s when they fired their tasers.
Police said non-lethal force was the better option.
However, Olivas died a few days later as a result of burns covering 85 percent of his body and smoke inhalation.
Malone that it is unfortunate police officers chose to tase Olivas, especially after a fellow officer told them that he would catch fire if tased.
“This is also troubling because the officers’ prior training indicated to them the significant hazard of using a Taser when flammable fumes and/or liquids are present. Mr. Olivas died a horrible death as a result,” he said.