Couple sue city, claiming officer used Taser on man in hospital

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A couple, formerly of Beechview, sued the city of Pittsburgh late Tuesday, claiming that their efforts two years ago to grieve at the hospital bedside of their just-murdered son were thwarted by police, who used a Taser on one of them.

Earl D. Baldwin Jr. and Troi Baldwin, whose ages and current neighborhoods of residence were not available, traveled to UPMC Mercy after getting word that Ms. Baldwin's son, and Mr. Baldwin's stepson, Mileek Grissom, had been shot, according to the complaint in U.S. District Court.

When Mr. Baldwin attempted to lay his head next to Grissom's body, unnamed city police officers and UPMC security personnel "attempted to forcibly remove" him, according to the complaint. An officer "then unlawfully used his Taser" on Mr. Baldwin, and he was "handcuffed and forcibly ejected from the hospital," according to the complaint.

Unnamed officers or security guards prevented Ms. Baldwin from getting near her son's body, according to the complaint, written by attorney Joel Sansone.

According to the complaint, the city violated the couple's constitutional rights to privacy and due process, among other rights. The complaint also named UPMC Mercy, accusing hospital staff of "intentional infliction of emotional distress," and demanded compensation, including punitive damages, from both defendants.

City Solicitor Lourdes Sanchez Ridge said that the complaint was the first she had heard of the incident, adding that there are two sides to every story, and that the city would look into it.

“Clearly this was a stressful situation and a tragic loss for this family," Susan Manko, a spokeswoman for UPMC Mercy, wrote in an emailed response to questions. "However, the allegations about the circumstances are inaccurate."

Rich Lord: or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord. First Published June 25, 2014 12:00 AM

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