Skip to comments.Taser ruling sets standards for police, claims
Posted on 12/28/2009 9:24:51 PM PST by SmithL
Police need reasons to believe a suspect is dangerous before firing a Taser and can't use their stun gun simply because the person is disobeying orders or acting erratically, a federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled Monday.
The decision by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sets judicial standards for police and for people who claim they were victims of excessive force after police hit them with a Taser dart.
"The objective facts must indicate that the suspect poses an immediate threat to the officer or a member of the public," Judge Kim Wardlaw said in the 3-0 ruling.
Though stun guns may offer a valuable, nonlethal alternative to deadly force in defusing dangerous situations, Wardlaw said, they inflict a "painful and frightening blow" and must be used only when substantial force is necessary and other options are unavailable.
"It's a significant use of force, not like cuffing someone or using pain compliance or pepper spray," said Eugene Iredale, a lawyer for a San Diego-area man who was Tasered by a police officer who had stopped him for not wearing a seat belt. "It's not to be used promiscuously or lightly."
The ruling allows Iredale's client Carl Bryan to go to trial in his damage suit against Brian McPherson, a policeman in Bryan's hometown of Coronado. McPherson's lawyers were unavailable for comment.
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
This is stupid, so now they have to come into contact with the suspect again.
Will all police departments switch to beanbag rounds now.
They’ll find a reason they’re too abusive too.
The “12 year-old” in question was about 5 foot 7 and more than 150 pounds.
Caution, VERY disturbing, from 1:33 on. The man dies on the scene.
In a more civilized time, one of the cops would have walked up to the guy offering a smoke, they'd sit down and everyone would have walked away safe and sound. Instead, some Mounties got to try out their new toy. They even LIED about the incident before and during the inquest into the incident, in the face of the video evidence they first confiscated and would not return until sued, then tried to suppress!
It's almost to the point where the police are earning the same level of esteem as lawyers: 1% have their reputations smeared by the other 99%
For our FReeper police members, this is hyperbole, just in case you missed that, or are that sensitive to such statements. The sting, however, shows there is more than a grain of truth to my hyperbole...
Here’s some interesting and related news.
Cop Went Wild With Taser, Diabetic Says
I'm sure there are those who will find an excuse, any excuse. After all, they ARE the Po-lice.........
Police should not be using the taser for punishment. They could have cuffed the guy if he was not cooperating but this sounds like street justice to me.
Give me the taser over OC spray 10 times out of 10....the OC bothered me for a month.
Taser was over as soon as the juice stopped flowing.
A Taser is also so impersonal. If it’s worth doing it’s worth handcrafting.
Taser equals torture.
We don’t torture anymore.
It is possible to use excessive force with any weapon, but the standard shouldn’t be set this high.
It is absurd, we have policemen dieing everyday without having to worry about having to tackle someone. You don’t make such an absurd ruling on a single instance no matter how heinous you may think the video is.
With a taser, 1-3 officers can take someone down and into custody. With this standard we will have to wait till 6 officers are on the scene before we initiate contact.
With budgets strained, there are no additional officers to hire. This means this rule will kill more people than it saves because of the officers tied up with one person who can’t follow instructions.
What about the innocent victims that want want to live?
I would agree with you, but if you live in a gun free zone, what’ya gonna do?
Good for a start. These things are less lethal but can be deadly never the less.
There should be a very high standard to use a device that alters the electrical current of a human being.
Crazy man...Yes, that Court ruling does set the bar way too high and the ruling should be appealed so the law enforcement person has more leeway in taking action to protect him- or herself, and the public, from harm...
Any problem with OC and taking them down, hard? Don’t these guys learn leverage and locks such as those used in Hapkido or some Steven Segal moves?
I learned them in college when I wanted to become an officer and while I chose not to pursue that career those same skills have come in handy and saved my ass.
Good for the judge.
Cops don’t need cattle prods.
Real life isn't the movies. Hapkido and Aikido look good on film, but seldom work in real life.
Going hands on with someone is always dangerous, both for the officer and the suspect. People who watch too much Television might not recognize that, but it is reality.
A taser is not a “cattle prod.”
Try it on someone who is high on Meth
It ain't now.
Oh I have and drunk guys too.
There isn’t a perfect solution to everything but the Taser is being viewed by LEO as such. It needs to have a standard of escalation applied much like deadly force.
Pepper spray and batons kill and cripple more than Tasers ever dreamed of. Asthma attack after OC... accidental head strikes in Baton fights. Or successful knee or elbow strike with a baton, drunk offender easily crippled there for life.
No drunk in their right mind would want that, taser is the way.
Suggesting police all become junior Aikido experts is silly. Not a serious alternative.
Under the correct circumstances a Taser is a great tool....but it can lead to a lack of willingness to lay hands on people when controlling their movements is imperitive.
And Tasers don’t always make a good connection when deployed or winter clothing defeats they darts...etc.
They a wonderfull on crazy though.
It will tire crazy out faster that you can get tired out which is important.
But in the end, it’s just a tool like a baton or handcuffs or OC spray, or your hands or your firearm.
Hmmmm.... you have some valid points. though I am still bothered by the videos of people being tasered for no real or seriously real reason. “Don’t tase me bro” or the guy on the side of a highway in Utah or the one in an airport or even some fat 14 year old girl.
Screwing with the electrical system of a human being is going to some shocking outcomes.
Just when did cops become God and have the right to tase, gas, or beat down those who don't follow instructions. Not all instructions are lawful orders.
Of course cops are supposed to tackle people. lol...
What do you think cops do? Cops roll in the mud with drunks, crazy people and bad guys. Everyday...lol.
That what happens when ya got politically correct cities and counties hiring 5'7" 150 pound females... What would you expect?
I recall a time when there were strict height and weight standards for males...Of course that was way too much common sense.
The more this country turns toward collectivism the more these cops become the tip of the tyrant’s spear.
By default it will change from “To Serve and Protect” to “To Serve the State and Protect Our Power Grid”. It’s about revenue and keeping the citizenry subdued as life gets increasingly difficult—not necessarily in that order.
You can see the transition already as cops more and more look upon the average Joe as just another annoying citizen pawn threatening his/her authority. They’d sooner fry you with 50,000 volts than listen to you protest their blatant intimidation and oppression.
Long gone are the days when the local cop was everybody’s friend. Everybody fears the cop and his/her citizen torture devices.
The more citizens fear them the more they will act against them, from small ways to outright killing them. And the cycle continues, and the situation escalates until it gets medieval.
I wouldn’t want to be just entering this “profession” as the job description is now fluid and heading in a, shall we say, distasteful direction.
Pretty sad, today's cops need to electrocute unarmed people to take them into custody...In the days past, the cops were not 5'7" 25 year old females....Simple common sense tells ya that they don't stand a freaking chance on the street unless they electrocute, shoot the suspect, or call for backup to save themselves.
Sh*t happened...Like too many people...
Cops now see every non-cop as a suspect and a danger...Sad, but that's the way it is. Throw in 25 year old 150 pound female cops, and they have to shoot or electrocute the unarmed non-cooperating suspect, just to take him into custody, because the suspect will kick their ass and take take their GD weapon otherwise.
This is what PC affirmative action did.
Agreed, but if you intend to take someone downtown because they won’t follow instructions your options are either tase them or tackle them to take them into custody.
Tackling them is more likely to cause them permanent bodily harm than tasing them.
I would rather be tased than beat down.
I agree, the police force has become too pc.
That being said, you either get tased or beat down, which would you like?
I am fortunate to not live in a gun free zone, so why would I move?
You follow their instructions then you sue them later.
Unless you want to go to war with the cops, don’t go there.
If that's the case, look for upwards of 1000 people per day in this country being electrocuted by taser.
I've seen plenty of non-armed, non-cooperating types be arrested without being beat down or tased. Training helps in addition to hiring cops that can actually handle themselves on the streets.
Going “hands on” often leads to police brutality, severe injuries to both parties, lawsuits and expensive workers comp claims. Once you get into fight mode, it can be very difficult to regain your composure once the suspect is in custody.
Used properly, Tasers quickly subdue suspects and reduce overall injuries. Unfortunately, there are more than a few cases where they were used unnecessarily.
Ok, I support the cops giving the person the option to choose.
“Sir, would you like us to tackle you and potentially doing you permanent physical harm or would you like to be tased?”
Ultimately, if they say you are under arrest, what are they supposed to do? herd you to the police station?
“Sir, would you please follow us in your car to the police station?”
I don’t know what people are thinking, put yourself in the day to day grind that cops have to deal with.
This is one freaking video and doesn’t represent your average cop.
Anyone who owns a gun knows the advantage it gives you is it is a standoff weapon, you don’t have to come into physical contact with the person you are dealing with. If you have to physically contact the person you are risking physical damage to yourself and the person that you are dealing with. Not only that, think of all those videos where the cops have to beat someone in submission?
This is a liberal Lawyer’s wet dream. I can’t believe on this board that there would be so many willing to make liberal dreams happen.
Logically, tasing is safer for the cops and the person being tased.
When ever physical contact is involved, all bets are off.
A situation can quickly escalate.
There was a fat guy that didn’t look like he could even walk fast and it took 5 fit guys to pin this guy down. Later on we found out that his shoulder was dislocated, when did it happen is anyones guess.
No one had a taser.
That's something you'll never get away from. Hence my comments above regarding the problems hiring 24 year old females as street cops. That is a law suit, workers comp claim, tragedy, and or early medical retirement just waiting to happen.
The problem with the article and the order issue is the assumption that tasers are only for an alternative to lethal force.
I beg to differ.
They are also an alternative to physical force.
If so, what do you base that justification on?
I was answering your question.
Cops are NOT my masters.