Putnam Lawsuit Upgraded to Wrongful Death

Family alleges man died from injuries caused by deputies

The family of a Brewster man who died two years after an encounter with Putnam County Sheriff’s Department deputies outside his home has added wrongful death to their list of claims in a $50 million federal lawsuit against the county.

George Taranto

George Taranto

In an amended complaint filed Dec. 24, the family of George Taranto alleges that his death on Aug. 25 of this year resulted from a brain injury suffered when he was tackled by deputies on July 8, 2019. 

Taranto, then 75, was carrying a licensed and loaded Colt Mustang .380 pistol when he came outside after hearing noises and seeing flashlights. According to the lawsuit, he encountered deputies investigating a report of a stolen car at a neighboring property. 

The family said Taranto complied when deputies, with their weapons drawn, began screaming at him to drop the gun, raise his hands and walk toward them. Along with the county, the lawsuit names as defendants outgoing Sheriff Robert Langley Jr., three deputies, a sergeant and an investigator.

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