Family suing Ocoee Police after deadly encounter

The family of an Ocoee man is suing the city after his death.  The lawsuit claims Jean Samuel Celestin was having a mental health crisis when he was tasered by Ocoee police officers several times.

Body camera footage shows how the confrontation began and escalated. Officers say Celestin answered the door holding a remote control and a kitchen knife.

The video shows Celestin shutting the door on officers, then opening it. Later, officers entered his home and tasered him. In the video, officers claim Celestin lunged at them.

Celestin’s family called 911 for help that night, they say because he was experiencing an acute mental health crisis, and hit family members. In the video, his sister explains to officers that Celestin required intervention units during past episodes.

"He’s been Baker-acted before, just so you know. He does have schizophrenia and some bipolar issues. He’s not on any medications right now," his sister is heard saying in the video.

Officers tasered Celestin a total of four times. Video shows some of this happens after Celestin appers to run from officers. He ended up face down on the ground across the street where officers detained him using a "hobble restraint,"  also known as a hogtie.

Later officers realized Celestin wasn’t breathing and performed CPR. Celestin was pronounced dead at the hospital.

This lawsuit alleges the hobble restraint contributed to the death. The lawsuit also claims officers were "either unfamiliar or uninterested with the proper procedures for securing appropriate treatment for people in acute distress."

Jeremy Markman, the family’s attorney, spoke with FOX 35 News over the phone Thursday.

"When a family asks for help, they should get help. They shouldn’t get law enforcement officers that are poorly trained and prepared, treating someone like they’re not a human being and ultimately causing his death," Markman said.

Markman says the family wants officers who were involved in the incident to be charged.

FOX 35 News reached out to the City of Ocoee and Town of Windermere, which was also named in the lawsuit, for comment on this story. We are waiting for a response.

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