EVANSVILLE, Ind. — The city of Evansville and seven police officers are faced with a civil rights lawsuit for the wrongful death of a 20-year-old.
In November of 2020, Evan Terhune was put into police custody after Terhune attacked a friend while on drugs.
The lawsuit says that on November 14th at Loft Cove homes in Evansville, Terhune took LSD and began to behave erratically before attacking one of his friends. One person called 911, saying “…is on some type of drugs, acting all crazy.”
One of the Terhune’s friends, out of fear for his own safety from Terhune’s behavior, pulled out a gun and accidentally shot another person. That person only had a minor gunshot wound to the leg.
Once Evansville Police Officers arrived, body cam footage showed Terhune falling down after running into the police vehicle. After getting back up and trying to attack the officer, Terhune was tased and placed in cuffs face down. Police placed a spit mask over Terhune’s head, before declining to use an ambulance to transport him to the hospital.
The lawsuit says that Terhune was severely impaired, acting erratically and hallucinating. “Officers agreed that Evan needed to be taken to the hospital… at the instruction of Sergeant McQuay, the officers then put Evan—who was terrified out of his mind, hallucinating, cuffed behind his back, and covered with a mask—in the back of a metal paddy wagon which was not equipped with seatbelts or any sort of restraints.”
They claim that while Terhune was thrashing and hurting himself in the back of the wagon due to the severe hallucinations, the officers transported Terhune to the hospital at normal speeds without police lights. At the hospital, the officers spoke to each other for seven minutes while Evan could be heard screaming in the back of the wagon. One officer saying, “It’s not a good day for this guy.”
By the time they went to retrieve Terhune from the back of the wagon, he was unresponsive. In the hospital, a CT scan showed he had a brain injury that could not be fixed even after surgery. Terhune was pronounced dead three days later with the cause of death being blunt force trauma to the head.
The lawsuit says that Terhune was a young man who only made the mistake of using drugs, “However, that mistake should not have resulted in a death sentence.”
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