Family of Dainell Simmons files lawsuit against Suffolk after Taser death

Police say Dainell Simmons was struggling with police last summer when they used Tasers and pepper spray on the 29-year-old. (6/23/14)

MIDDLE ISLAND - The family of a man who died after being Tasered by Suffolk police is filing a $20 million wrongful death lawsuit.

Dainell Simmons was a resident of the Maryhaven Center of Hope group home in Middle Island. His mother, Glynice Simmons, says her 29-year-old son was autistic and non-violent.

Police say Simmons was banging on walls and hitting Maryhaven staff members when they were summoned to the scene last July. He was allegedly struggling with police when they used Tasers and pepper spray on him. Simmons died at Mather Hospital.

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Simmons' relatives say they are filing a $20 million wrongful death suit against the county, the police department and Maryhaven.

The suit comes as more police officers on Long Island are being equipped with Tasers. Half of the Suffolk police force is equipped with them, and while only about 100 Nassau officers currently carry Tasers, the department plans to give them to 1,500 officers by the end of the year.

Amnesty International says more than 550 people have died since 2001 after being hit by an "electroshock weapon." A total of seven of those were from Suffolk County; none were from Nassau.

The Suffolk County Police Department would not comment on Simmon's death, citing the pending litigation. A spokeswoman for Maryhaven would also not discuss the incident, but extended the home's "deepest sympathies" to the Simmons family.

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