Has the taser become the new weapon of choice for bullies with badges?
While most police officers really are determined to protect and serve the public, there are a few officers who seem to think that their badges turn them into modern-day cowboys, with a license to take aim with a taser anytime they want.
That included tasering a child just days away from starting ninth grade as he tried to avoid police on his all-terrain vehicle (ATV). ATV riders are often considered a nuisance by local residents and police — and the teen shouldn’t have been on the road with it.
However, the officer in charge of handling the situation with the teenager made the remarkably questionable decision to fire his taser at the boy while the teen was driving the ATV and in motion. The teen crashed the ATV into a nearby pickup truck and died from his injuries.
The same officer has been involved in two previous incidents, accused of using his taser with intentional viciousness. One victim was never even actually charged with a criminal offense! The other plaintiff was tased while he was in handcuffs — for no possible purpose except to cause him pain.
Now the state may be feeling the pain. The Detroit teenager’s surviving family has filed a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit in federal court, alleging that the actions of the officer were negligent and needlessly brutal. Not only is tasing someone from a moving vehicle against police policy in Michigan, it seems clearly negligent to fire at the driver of a moving vehicle — since that is going to almost automatically lead to a wreck and possible injuries and death.
While tasers are often considered a less-dangerous option than a gun, tasers can still kill. They can cause heart attacks in some people without warning or deliver too-high of a shock by accident. They can also be too easily used by officers who are intent on humiliating and hurting a suspect that’s aggravated them.
Anyone victimized by police misconduct or brutality, including unnecessary attacks using a taser, should contact an attorney immediately to discuss the possibility of a civil case.
Source: USA Today, “$50M lawsuit filed against Michigan State Police trooper in ATV Taser case,” Allie Gross, Aug. 31, 2017