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Repeatedly Tasering Pregnant Women is OK, Says Court

By cole gamble |

A court has ruled three police officers innocent of using excessive force after they Tasered a visibly pregnant woman pulled over for a speeding ticket.

Run that by me again? What is it about “shooting electricity into a fetus” that sounds reasonable?

“Although she had told the officers she was seven months pregnant, they proceeded to use a Taser on her, not once but three times, causing her to scream with pain and leaving burn marks and permanent scars,” said Judge Marsha Berzon, the only dissenting judge in the 2-1 decision.

The pregnant woman, Malaika Brooks, had driven her 12-year-old son to school when police pulled her over for speeding. Brooks was compliant, handing over her license, but refused to sign the ticket as she believed doing so would be an admission of guilt. Officers are required to inform people that signing tickets is not tantamount to admission of guilt.

After a verbal spat, an officer held Brooks’ arm behind her back while the remaining officers delivered three (yes, 3) Taser attacks of 50,000 volts each.

“A suspect who repeatedly refuses to comply with instructions or leave her car escalates the risk involved for officers unable to predict what type of noncompliance might come next,” Judge Cynthia Holcomb Hall wrote for the majority. She was joined by Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain.

This story adds to growing concern over the misuse of Taser weapons by police officers. Because the weapons are classified “non-lethal”, officers are much more likely to fire the weapon, despite many cases of victims dying after a Taser attack by police.

Here’s a question: can the baby sue the police department?

Source: Wired

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About cole gamble

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cole gamble

Cole Gamble is a writer living in Portland, Oregon. He's working on an evil self-help guide titled Improve Your Life or Die.

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14 thoughts on “Repeatedly Tasering Pregnant Women is OK, Says Court

  1. BLUSTER says:

    You made a joke out of this when you ask if the baby can sue. Do you take this seriously, or comically?

  2. Jennifer says:

    happy April Fool’s Day to you, too

  3. Lara says:

    Jennifer, the source of the story was posted on the 29th of March. Not an April Fool’s joke.

  4. JEssica says:

    The police used poor judgement. I hope the baby is okay.

  5. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    Apparently, tasing has allowed some cops to become total pussies. Excuse the language. There have been reports of tasing elderly, teenagers and now pregnant women. The cops I know agree. If you can’t command control of an unthreatening situation without drawing a weapon, maybe you shouldn’t be a cop.

  6. Ri-chan says:

    These cops were obviously on a power trip (and maybe the judges too?)
    Absolute power corrupts absolutly

  7. Eric says:

    These things are always more complicated than a blog post makes them sound. http://www.morelaw.com/verdicts/case.asp?n=08-35526&s=WA&d=43386 is a good read. If I did the things in that document, I know I’d expect to be tased.

  8. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    I read the document. Seems like this is a higher court ruling against a lower court. She was being arrested because the cops figured since she was already refusing to sign the ticket (not an arrestable offense) she would likely refuse to sign a citation to appear in court (an arrestable offense). Also, that she didn’t pose any immediate danger to herself or the public or the officers, but the cops didn’t know that after they completed the stop, maybe she could have become a danger. Sounds like a lot of maybes to me. She was definitely being an ass, but the cops also had the choice of giving her an unsigned ticket. Unfortunately, less and less cops know how, or care how to calm down, rather than to talk down. “Who are you to challenge my authority? Better get out the gun/taser/chokehold!” So two courts disagreed on this matter. Reasonable people, knowing the facts of the case, can disagree, and I do. Your perspective on the “protect and serve” duties of law officers can be affected by your experience and position in society.

  9. Eric says:

    Yeah, I’m not saying that the cops should or shouldn’t have tasered her. Really the facts that led to this becoming an arrestable offence are in dispute (whether or not she was willing to sign a citation to appear). I don’t think there’s enough evidence one way or the other for me. I do know that if the cop tells you “get out of the car,” and you don’t, its about to go down. I also know that after I got stun gunned once, I would do what they said and not hold out for stuns two and three.

  10. aire says:

    Well whats next are they going to taser anant for not stopping when they walk. The cops need to think before they take out their weapons. One question who picks these cops that have no common sense

  11. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    Hey, a renowned professor got told to step out of his own home, and when he did, he got arrested too. Mostly because he was “mouthy” with the cop. If a cop is so sensitive to perceived disrespect, then they should go get therapy, and not have weapons in which to enforce bolstering to their shortcomings.

  12. jenny tries too hard says:

    Uh..isn’t the point of taser to subdue someone so that cops can get a grip on them? If one cop had her arm behind her back, how on earth could the taser have been necessary once, let alone three times?

    And, yes, when the baby grows up, if he or she experienced an injury or disability because of the taser, he or she can sue. People who were injured because of medication their mothers were prescribed while pregnant have sued drug companies. Of course, I have no idea what a taser would do to a fetus.

  13. Rosaliena says:

    i read this an almost cried. This could kill her baby im a mother of 17 ive lost 4 babys due to abuse so sad

  14. SimplyAmy says:

    Tasering anyone 3 times for simply refusing to sign a ticket is not okay in any way. They should have simply handcuffed her and taken her away if it was that big of a deal to them. Hope she gets a nice, big settlement.

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