Dad: Cops Tased Me as I Tried to Save Son in Fire

Parents sue after boy, 3, died as dad was put in holding cell
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2015 8:27 AM CDT
Dad: Cops Tased Me as I Tried to Save Son in Fire
In this undated photo provided by Miller Law Offices is 3-year-old Riley Jeffrey Rieser Miller, who was killed in a house fire on Oct. 31, 2013, in Louisiana, Mo.   (AP Photo/Courtesy Miller Law Offices)

As his Missouri home burned, Ryan Miller tried desperately to go back inside and rescue his 3-year-old stepson, Riley Rieser. But police Tasered Miller repeatedly, preventing him from returning inside, and Riley died, according to a lawsuit Ryan and Catherine Miller have now filed over the 2013 incident. Police officers in Louisiana, Mo., "prevented Ryan Miller from entering the home to save his stepson ... by forcibly moving and by repeatedly Tasing Ryan Miller, including once in the police cruiser as Riley Rieser was being removed from the home," the suit reads, according to Courthouse News. The suit also claims the officers did not announce themselves as police, and that Miller did not present a threat—nor was he ever arrested, though he was placed in a holding cell as his stepson was taken to the hospital.

"I was hysterical, yes, because I wanted to save my son," Miller admitted in 2013 to the Louisiana Press-Journal. "He was the joy of my life." The Millers are suing the City of Louisiana for excessive force, wrongful death, false imprisonment, and negligent infliction of emotional distress; they are also suing their landlord for wrongful death, among other things—the fire was caused by faulty wiring, the suit claims, and the landlord is accused of ignoring multiple warnings from state housing officials. He is also accused of not having an occupancy permit to lease the home, since it had not been inspected for more than two years. "It's just heartless. How could they be so heartless?" Riley's aunt told WND of the police in 2013. Added Miller's mom, "They took my son to jail because he tried to save his son." (A Christmas fire killed a grandma and her three visiting grandkids.)

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