Pierce County to pay $750,000 in death of mentally ill man who died after being tased, punched by deputies

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Pierce County has agreed to pay $750,000 to resolve a lawsuit in the case of a mentally ill man who died last year after an encounter with sheriff's deputies.

As part of the settlement, the sheriff's department has agreed to provide additional training for deputies to help them better respond to calls involving the mentally ill.

The News Tribune reports (http://is.gd/frESua ) that relatives of Ronald Hillstrom alleged that the death was caused by deputies' inadequate training and excessive force. Lawyer Nathan Roberts said Thursday the family hopes the new training will improve deputies' handling of future calls.

Deputies found the 44-year-old man in University Place holding a screwdriver and running in circles on May 11, 2014. After he refused to obey their commands, they struggled with the man. The newspaper says he was shocked with a stun gun, hog-tied and punched. He was being taken to a hospital when he suffered cardiac arrest and died.

An autopsy showed Hillstrom suffered multiple blunt force injuries, a broken nose and ribs.