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Federal Appeals Court rules on Taser use

Posted by cadburyjedi, john h. on February 10, 2010

http://www.news10.net/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=72435 (sorry for the corporate link)

“SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal appeals court in San Francisco has ruled that police can’t zap someone with a stun gun unless the suspect poses an immediate threat.

Monday’s ruling sets police standards for use of the Taser, saying stun guns must be used only when “substantial force” is needed.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said officers can’t Taser a person simply for acting erratically or disobeying orders.

The ruling allows a San Diego-area man to proceed to trial in a lawsuit against police in the San Diego County town of Coronado.

Carl Bryan said he was shocked, fell and lost four teeth because he was acting erratically but was unarmed, stood far away and never menaced the officer.

Sacramento attorney Mark Merin has represented the families of taser death victims and said this ruling is key because it eliminates qualified immunity for the officers, “Which means it could be the officers own pocket that gets hit with the penalties in this case. So I think that’s going to disuade officers from misuse of this weapon.””

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