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Taser ruling sets standards for police, claims

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posted on Dec, 30 2009 @ 11:08 PM
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According to a post in the SF Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle (I can't seem to post in the news sections because of "encoding errors")


Police need reasons to believe a suspect is dangerous before firing a Taser and can't use their stun gun simply because the person is disobeying orders or acting erratically, a federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled Monday.

The decision by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sets judicial standards for police and for people who claim they were victims of excessive force after police hit them with a Taser dart.

"The objective facts must indicate that the suspect poses an immediate threat to the officer or a member of the public," Judge Kim Wardlaw said in the 3-0 ruling.

Though stun guns may offer a valuable, nonlethal alternative to deadly force in defusing dangerous situations, Wardlaw said, they inflict a "painful and frightening blow" and must be used only when substantial force is necessary and other options are unavailable.

"It's a significant use of force, not like cuffing someone or using pain compliance or pepper spray," said Eugene Iredale, a lawyer for a San Diego-area man who was Tasered by a police officer who had stopped him for not wearing a seat belt. "It's not to be used promiscuously or lightly."


Finally the legal system is starting to set some clear guidelines against the indiscriminate use of the taser as ... well the only way to describe it is ... as a cattle prod to be use don civilians to extract their compliance to whatever demands the police make of them.


Read more: www.sfgate.com.../c/a/2009/12/28/BA811BAG5G.DTL&tsp=1#ixzz0bEw1pYP6




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