Repeatedly Tasering Pregnant Women is OK, Says CourtCole 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?