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SCOTUS May Review Police TASER Use

May 07, 2012  | 

The U.S. Supreme Court may consider police use of TASERs such as the X26 (shown). Photo: TASER
The U.S. Supreme Court may consider police use of TASERs such as the X26 (shown). Photo: TASER

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider reviewing police use of TASERs as possible excessive force when justices review cases for the upcoming term later this month.

At a May 24 conference, the justices will consider whether to hear two cases from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals involving the use of TASER stun guns against resistive subjects in Seattle and Hawaii.

"One could argue that the use of painful, permanently scarring weaponry on non-threatening individuals, who were not trying to escape, should have been known to be excessive by any informed police officer," wrote Appellate Judge Mary Schroeder, reports the McClatchy Newspapers.

In the first case, a Seattle Police officer stunned pregnant Malaika Brooks, after she was pulled over for driving 12 mph over the 20-mph limit and refused to sign the citation.

In the second case, a Maui Police officer stunned Jayzel Mattos, who fought with officers who attempted to defuse her drunk husband during a domestic disturbance in 2006.

Related:

Ninth Circuit: Stun Gun Use Excessive In 2 Cases

Tags: TASER, Less-Lethal Force, U.S. Supreme Court, Less-Lethal Weapons


Comments (3)

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3

Ima Leprechaun @ 5/8/2012 9:39 AM

The taser is a fantastic police tool but like every other police tool it can be abused. I am aware of officers that were killed by a suspect because of taser abuse. The officers were having fun with the suspect and trying to make him "dance" and it backfired on the officers in a big way. The taser only served to piss off the suspect who happened to be armed and in his rage he chose to get into a gun battle with the officers causing both officers to be killed and the suspect to be shot to death at a road block by some twenty other officers. The abuse of the taser directly lead to this event and was wholly preventable. So when we choose to abuse our tools we create significant supreme court case law. This has been the case throughout law enforcement history. We only have ourselves to blame. Proper use of policy and equipment and following professional standards are our only protection of our asset arsenal. Cops are only human and many of us have the same failings as the rest of the public that break the law but only through professional behavior can we strive to prove our worth to the public and to the courts.

Ranger @ 5/8/2012 12:18 PM

"Ima Leprechaun", you are way off. It was not the Taser that caused two officers to die. It was the offender's choice to committ murder twice over. If he was indeed made to "dance", then he could have filed an excessive force suit. I have rode the lightning several times; and while I don't enjoy it, it would not be justification to kill two officers. He survived his dancing. Plus, the units record the data of the use which could have backed the excessive force claim. I would think the officers would have known that. If the cops were wrong, they were wrong. BUT, two wrongs don't make a right.

Rev. Lowrey @ 5/8/2012 3:51 PM

Thanks Ima, for a voice of reason. Ranger does not seem to realize that officers should act responsibly and show reasonable restraint and not have the attitude that if a person is offended by abuse they can always file a complaint later. A LEO's job is a dangerous one. They cannot afford to have or encourage a cavalier attitude toward the use of force and certainly should not consider their tools to be toys.

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