Lawsuit in taser-related death dismissed - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Lawsuit in taser-related death dismissed

(WMC-TV) - Many people retire by age 72, but Rosie Chatt is still working to find justice for her son DeWayne Chatt.

He died of a heart attack in 2008 shortly after his arrest for loitering at the Dodge's Store in West Memphis, AR.

"I'm going to Washington to Mr. Holder," said Rosie Chatt.  "If he don't help me, I'm knocking on the President's door."

DeWayne Chatt was tased at least four times before his death by several West Memphis Police officers.         

Action News 5 was first to obtain surveillance video which clearly shows an intense struggle.  Chatt died at the Crittenden County Jail shortly after he was booked.

Despite what she believes is overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing, Rosie Chatt's lawsuit against police was recently dismissed by a federal judge.

"The judge was wrong," said Chatt.

Acting West Memphis Police Chief Donald Oakes disagrees.

"It's not necessarily a good outcome," said Oakes.  "It's still tragic for the family," he added.

A medical examiner ruled Chatt's heart condition was exacerbated by the use of pepper spray and tasers. But Oakes said the decision to resist arrest was clearly his.

"And the truth of the matter is had Mr. Chatt stayed where he was when officers made contact, they may not have arrested him and certainly would not have had to fight with him," said Oakes.

Rosie Chatt and her family say their fight is far from over.

"And I'm not going to let them get away," said Chatt.

The family is now working with an attorney to seek an appeal.

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