ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – A court has denied the motions from the City of Arlington and two police officers being sued by the family of Gabriel Olivas, the North Texas man who was tased after he had doused himself with gasoline and threatened to kill himself. Now the officers are appealing the district court’s ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
Dean Malone, the attorney representing the family, said, “It is unfortunate that the case will drag on for months or years as a result of the appeals. Appeals in the middle of a civil rights case delay closure for families affected by the death of a loved-one.”READ MORE: Freeze Warning For Parts Of North Texas As Record Cold Arctic Air Pushes South
It was in 2017 when police were called by a family member of Olivas’ after he made threats to commit suicide in his Arlington home, along Carla Avenue.
According to Malone, despite being told Olivas was threatening suicide by pouring gasoline on himself and lighting himself on fire, three officers began to interact “with Mr. Olivas with family members present.”READ MORE: 2 People Killed In 3 Days By Separate Hit-And-Run Drivers In Fort Worth
Malone said while the officers had smelled gasoline in the house and saw Olivas douse himself with gas, “One officer told the other two officers that Mr. Olivas would catch fire if they Tased him. Despite that, and officers’ knowledge that Taser use would likely catch Mr. Olivas on fire, the other two officers shot their Tasers at Mr. Olivas.”
Olivas’ burning body actually ignited a house fire. The 39-year-old man died days later, succumbing to burns over 85% of his body, and smoke inhalation.MORE NEWS: CBS Eye On Earth: What You Can Do To Prevent Water Runoff Pollution
Arlington police have maintained that their officers acted appropriately.