Iowa’s North Liberty police department sued for multiple Tasering of arrestee.

The Courts define what force is legitimate police power and when the use of force becomes punishment. It is the court's that mete out punishment sanctioned by state law; whereas police enforce the laws. Police are not authorized by the Constitution to punish. It's all about the separation of powers under the United States Constitution.

Once under control would repeated Tasering be considered an abuse of police power?

This Iowa case may answer the question of whether it is justified police action or an unconstitutional abuse of police power to use multiple Tazing of a person under arrest. As you can imagine once a person is under control further Tasering is akin to torture. The police are supposed to enforce the laws, but are not authorized to act as judge and jury as far as punishment goes.

What this case may answer may also demonstrate the difficulty of proving damages in a civil case for the manner in which the Taser was used. If it’s legal to Taser a person at least once, then what pain and suffering does a second, third and fourth Taser event add? If at least one Tasering is legal then you won’t be allowed damages for that first event; only for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th events. But if the Taser makes your nerve pulses ineffective can a person continue to feel painful stimulus? If not how then can you suffer pain? Perhaps the experts will be able to tell us if the Tasered suspect can still feel pain but is simply unable to respond. This damage case will require medical experts on the issue of the Taser and a person’s ability to feel pain after undergoing a Taser event.

I have to wonder how, if the Taser is so effective, can anyone justify multiple Tasering events?

Canadian authorities have been analyzing the use of the Taser by it’s own police forces and seem more concerned than is American law enforcement.    

The ACLU of Florida petitioned the SCOTUS to review a case involving multiple Taser events on the same person during an arrest. You can download the 67 page Petition for Review by following the link.

QUESTIONS PRESENTED

1. Whether a deputy sheriff violated the Fourth Amendment by administering three separate five-second-long direct contact “drivestun” Taser shocks, over a two minute period, to a handcuffed, nonviolent misdemeanor traffic arrestee who had already collapsed to the ground sobbing, who never actively resisted arrest or attempted to flee, and who never posed any danger to himself, the officer or the public, when the sole purpose of the Taser shocks was to administer pain to prompt the arrestee to stand up.

2. Whether a reasonable police officer had fair notice in 2004 sufficient to deprive him of qualified immunity that it violated the Fourth Amendment to administer three separate  fivesecond-long direct contact “drive stun” taser shocks, over a two minute period, to a handcuffed nonviolent misdemeanor traffic arrestee who had already collapsed to the ground sobbing, who never actively resisted arrest or attempted to flee, and who never posed any danger to himself, the officer or the public, when the sole purpose of the Taser shocks was to administer pain to prompt the arrestee to stand up.

PARTIES TO THE PROCEEDING

Petitioner is Jesse Daniel Buckley, plaintiff-appellee below.

Respondent is Jonathan Rackard, Deputy Sheriff of Washington County, Florida, in his individual capacity, defendant-appellant below.

Amnesty International USA covers the use of Tasers multiple shocks in a single arrest. See Canada: Inappropriate and excessive use of tasers.

2.1 Multiple or prolonged taser discharges
Amnesty International's research into deaths following taser use in the USA and Canada indicates that many of those who have died had been subjected to multiple or prolonged shocks. In Canada alone, all six of the deceased in 2005 and 2006 were shocked multiple times with a taser; in one case up to 12 times in three minutes.

Amnesty International believes that repeated shocks should be avoided unless absolutely necessary to avoid serious injury or death and prolonged shocks beyond the five-second discharge cycle should be prohibited.

The Canadian Police Research Centre noted in its 2005 Technical Report that "police officers need to be aware of the adverse effects of multiple, consecutive cycles of a CED on a subject" because "the issue related to multiple CED applications and its impact on respiration, pH levels and other associated physical effects, offers a plausible theory on the possible connection between deaths, CED use and people exhibiting symptoms of CED.(12)

In April 2005, the US Department of Defense released a report which concluded that while available data suggests that healthy adults would not be at significant risk from the taser, "if long periods of uninterrupted EMI [Electromuscular Incapacitation Device] activation did occur, the risk of unintended adverse effects such as cardiac arrhythmia, impairment of respiration or widespread metabolic muscle damage could be severe".(13)

Taser International is the main manufacturer of taser stun guns. In June 2005, in light of a number of lawsuits by relatives of those who died after being shocked by tasers, and the fact that the use of their product was being listed in autopsy reports, the company included a warning that there were potential health risks in the use of its product in a training bulletin.

Taser International on May 3, 2004 issued a Memorandum of Law concerning the Taser Conducted Energy Weapons.

The legal concerns usually raised regarding the TASER conducted energy weapon generally fall into two categories:

1. What are the legal restrictions on the use of a TASER conducted energy weapon; and

2. What is the impact of a TASER conducted energy weapon on legal liability in a use of force incident. The purpose of this Memorandum of Law is to address these issues in the context of U.S. Federal and State regulations and case law.

Watch this video and ask yourself whether these six officers were using force to effectuate an arrest or whether the force is in fact punishment. This is not the Iowa arrest that resulted in the lawsuit.

The Courts define what force is legitimate police power and when the use of force becomes punishment. It is the court's that mete out punishment sanctioned by state law; whereas police enforce the laws. Police are not authorized by the Constitution to punish. It's all about the separation of powers under the United States Constitution.

 

1 Comments
Interesting article which raises a question I would be most appreciative of a response before my "pro se" Order to Show Cause hearing on May 12th 2010.I began divorce proceedings 1/22/2007. My "ex" was unwarrantedly "tazed" by the Waterloo Police at a convenience store on 4/23/2007. There was media coverage. Ex was anticipating winning during trial for he believed that the surveillance tape proved he did not "assault" the officer which he had been charged. Mysteriously before trial, the tape could not be found. Hence, he settled on an Alford's plea,self probation for one year, and then record would be expunged. Motions for Contempt I had filed were all dismissed and judge awarded him 100% of pension fund, ignoring the fact that it was governed under ERISA law. Question: Could this incident have caused a "conflict of interest" and prejudiced my case? Thanks in advance.
by Colleen Collins April 23, 2010 at 03:38 PM
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