Police agencies meant to “protect and serve” the general public. This means that every citizen, whether they are accused of a crime or not, is under the protection of the police. Unfortunately, is not practiced by some of the police officers walking the streets today. Today’s police officers are often seen being overly aggressive toward the very public they are meant to protect. The aggressiveness of police has reached such levels that even devices such as Tasers, which are considered non-lethal, can become deadly in the hands of police.
A 24-year-old man died in police custody after being shocked over a dozen times with a Taser. The Georgia man fled on foot from police officers who were seeking to question him regarding a domestic dispute. After only a mile the officers caught up with the man in a creek and placed him in handcuffs. Within the next 30 minutes the handcuffed man was shocked repeatedly by two officers who said they did so to gain his compliance. The suspect died in the creek from what the corner reported as hypertensive cardiovascular disease aggravated by the shocks. A wrongful death claim was filed on behalf of the man’s estate and infant son against the officers involved and the city.
Although the officers may be facing criminal liabilities as well, it does not prevent them from being pursued in civil court for the loss their actions led to. A person who is placed in police custody is also placed under their protection. Injuries, even those that may be self-inflicted, can create a liability for the police department whose duty it is to protect those in their care.
Source: New York Times, Taser Use in Arrest Leads to Suit in Georgia, Alan Blinder Aug. 28, 2014