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WVC police sued for tasering man

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (News4Utah) - Fernando Coronado threatened to kill himself and others in 2016.

His wife called 911.  She was worried about his life and hers as well.  According to Tabetha Coronado he had a knife.  Coronado also said she told the dispatcher that there were weapons in the home.

That's what prompted a West Valley SWAT team to come out to the apartment complex.  Police set up snipers around the apartment.  Others surrounded the stairwells leading to the apartment.  

The standoff lasted about five hours.  Finally, in a newly-released video of the incident, Coronado comes out.  But that's when police decided to eventually taser him leading to a civil rights lawsuit filed by Coronado's attorney.

"I came out (of the apartment) with my hands up and had a cell phone in my hand," Coronado said sitting next to his attorney.  "I gave the officer the cell phone and there were a lot of officers talking."

In the body camera recording by police officers can be heard saying the following: "We're trying to help you OK?"
"Hands up, hands up, easy buddy. Easy."
"Fernando, get on the ground, get on the ground.  We are here to help you, get on the ground."
"Listen to us, we are here to help you."
"Fernando, you brought this on. You brought this. Get on the ground, get on the ground."

Coronado said he was confused because there were so many officers talking at once.

"This guy says put your hands on you head and get down and I said OK," said Coronado.  "So when I started to do it, that's it, they tased me.  But they didn't just tase me once, they tased me twice."

Coronado was rushed to the hospital. His attorney claimed he landed on his head when he fell to the ground and suffered numerous head injuries including fractures.  Robert Sykes said Coronado also suffered head, spine and other injuries.

Coronado is still recovering from those injuries.

"I've had to learn how to walk, learn how to chew to swallow," he said.

In a statement, West Valley police claimed they will "vigorously defend each and every allegation contained in the complaint."

The statement also said: "He was ordered to get on the ground by SWAT officers.  Mr. Coronado refused to comply and in fact rapidly advanced toward two officers who then deployed their tasers."

Robert Sykes, Coronado's attorney said this was a misdemeanor offense that his client was accused of.  Sykes said courts have ruled that citizens should not be tasered for non-violent offenses especially if there is no signs of danger.

"There is no reason to use this kind of very severe force on him, a tasing," said Sykes.  "At that point in time (prior to being tased) he doesn't have a knife, he doesn't have a gun and he's not threatening to kill them either."

Coronado was eventually charged with several charges, all misdemeanors.  In a plea bargain, five of the charges were dismissed and admitted guilty to threat or use of a dangerous weapon.  He was sentenced to a year in jail but it was suspended.


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