A Ticket, 3 Taser Jolts and, Perhaps, a Trip to the Supreme Court
- From: JAB <here@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 14 May 2012 21:36:50 -0500
WASHINGTON ? There have been many hundreds of varied rulings in the
lower courts on when the use of Taser stun guns by the police amounts
to excessive force, and sooner or later the Supreme Court will have to
bring order to this area of the law. Next week, the justices are
scheduled to decide whether to hear an appeal from three Seattle
police officers who say they are worried about the future of what they
call ?a useful pain technique.?
The case involves Malaika Brooks, who was seven months pregnant and
driving her 11-year-old son to school in Seattle when she was pulled
over for speeding. The police say she was going 32 miles per hour in a
school zone; the speed limit was 20.
Ms. Brooks said she would accept a ticket but drew the line at signing
it, which state law required at the time. Ms. Brooks thought, wrongly,
that signing was an acknowledgment of guilt.
Refusing to sign was a crime, and the two officers on the scene
summoned a sergeant, who instructed them to arrest Ms. Brooks. She
would not get out of her car.
The situation plainly called for bold action, and Officer Juan M.
Ornelas met the challenge by brandishing a Taser and asking Ms. Brooks
if she knew what it was.
She did not, but she told Officer Ornelas what she did know. ?I have
to go to the bathroom,? she said. ?I am pregnant. I?m less than 60
days from having my baby.?
The three men assessed the situation and conferred. ?Well, don?t do it
in her stomach,? one said. ?Do it in her thigh.?
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