Lawsuit Dismissed in Case of Arlington Man Who Caught Fire During Tazing

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A national suit by the household of Gabriel Olivas -- a antheral who died from being acceptable connected occurrence by tasers erstwhile helium was doused successful gasoline -- has present been dismissed.

It was a lawsuit that near an Arlington household torn and prompted galore to question the usage of stun guns by constabulary successful definite situations.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit finalized this week that the officers progressive were shielded by qualified immunity.


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On July 10, 2017, three Arlington constabulary officers responded to a telephone for assistance astatine the Olivas home. His lad told 911 that Olivas was threatening to termination himself.

Once wrong the house, officers said they recovered Olivas with a state can. One of the officers could beryllium heard connected assemblage camera saying if they tased him, "he is going to airy connected fire."

Officers said they tried to capsicum spray him but it didn't diffuse the situation.

Olivas past doused himself successful gasoline and yelled helium was going to pain the location down. According to written accounts obtained by NBC 5 astatine the time, officers thought they saw the lighter successful his hands. Officers Jeremias Guadarrama and Ebony Jefferson Deployed their Tasers and Olivas burst into flames.

He was burned implicit 85% of his assemblage and died astatine a infirmary 4 days later. The household location was besides heavy damaged successful the fire.

The lawsuit led to questions astir constabulary Taser policies and the training progressive successful erstwhile to deploy the devices.

The Olivas household sued the 2 officers and the metropolis of Arlington for violating his rights to beryllium escaped of excessive force.

The officers tried to get the lawsuit dismissed, saying qualified immunity protected them from the suit.

The tribunal recovered much grounds was needed to enactment that question and the officers appealed.

Then successful February 2021, a national appeals tribunal reversed that order, uncovering that, "the force-used firing Tasers was not unreasonable oregon excessive" and that the officers did not interruption the 4th amendment, frankincense entitling them to qualified immunity.

This month, the Fifth Circuit ordered the tribunal to participate orders successful accordance with its opinion. That determination was finalized this week.

According to tribunal filings, the "plaintiffs' claims against defendants are dismissed with prejudice. The remaining claims against the metropolis of Arlington indispensable besides beryllium dismissed. A municipality, similar the metropolis of Arlington, cannot beryllium held liable erstwhile its employee[s] did not interruption the constitution."

The lawsuit being dismissed with prejudice means it's a last determination by the tribunal truthful the household is barred from filing different suit based connected the aforesaid grounds.

The lawsuit could, however, beryllium appealed to a higher court.

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