Paramedic chokes 63-year-old, laughs as hospital tries to save him, lawsuit claims

A federal lawsuit has recently been initiated in relation to the death of Kevin Dizmang, a 63-year-old man who tragically lost his life after being choked by a paramedic for almost two minutes while being handcuffed by a police officer. This distressing incident took place during a mental health crisis that was connected to Dizmang’s struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and schizophrenia. In this article, we will thoroughly examine the specifics of this case and analyze the potential consequences of employing excessive force in such situations. By doing so, we hope to shed light on the importance of addressing mental health issues with compassion and appropriate intervention rather than resorting to violent measures.

The Incident

Paramedic chokes 63-year-old, laughs as hospital tries to save him, lawsuit claims 1

On November 15, 2022, Kevin Dizmang experienced a psychotic breakdown, prompting a crisis response team to be dispatched. The team, comprised of paramedic Nick Fisher and Officer Sean Reed from the Colorado Springs Police Department, arrived at the scene. Shockingly, instead of providing assistance, Fisher fatally choked Dizmang under the direction of other team members. This tragic incident left Dizmang’s daughter, Kenda James, who is also a paramedic, burdened with guilt for having called 911 for her father’s help.

In response to this horrific event, Kenda James filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Fisher and Reed, accusing them of using excessive and unauthorized force. Fisher is no longer employed by the Colorado Springs Fire Department, while Reed has been reassigned to a different role within the police department.

An autopsy conducted by the El Paso County Coroner’s office revealed that Dizmang’s death was classified as a homicide caused by cardio-pulmonary arrest due to physical restraint. The autopsy also uncovered several contributing factors, including acute methamphetamine intoxication, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, cardiomegaly, diaphragmatic paralysis, and obesity.

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Investigation and Legal Proceedings

Paramedic chokes 63-year-old, laughs as hospital tries to save him, lawsuit claims 2

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office initially conducted an investigation into the death of Dizmang, but later referred the case to the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office for further review. However, the district attorney’s office ultimately decided not to pursue criminal charges against Reed and Fisher, the individuals involved in the incident. The lawsuit filed against them alleges that Reed’s use of a chokehold on Dizmang was explicitly prohibited by law. The attorneys representing the lawsuit, including Kevin Mehr, emphasized that Dizmang had not committed any crimes and was in a state of crisis at the time. The lawsuit seeks justice for Dizmang’s family and demands accountability for the actions of the crisis response team. Dizmang’s daughter, Kenda James, spoke about the devastating impact her father’s death has had on their family, particularly the fact that he will never have the opportunity to meet one of her daughters. This loss is deeply significant to them.

The untimely demise of Kevin Dizmang stands as a poignant and somber testament to the dire repercussions that can arise from the unwarranted use of excessive force, especially when dealing with individuals grappling with mental health crises. This particular case serves as a glaring reminder of the urgent necessity for comprehensive training programs and well-defined protocols to be implemented, in order to safeguard the security and welfare of those in the midst of a crisis. It is of utmost importance that justice is duly served in this matter, and that proactive measures are promptly taken to prevent the recurrence of similar tragic incidents in the future.

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