9th Circuit Okays Use of Taser on Pregnant Woman
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today said it's okay for police to taser a woman who is 7 months pregnant three times because she refused to sign a traffic ticket.
Here's the opinion (pdf). First the facts, as outlined in the dissent:
Malaika Brooks, a pregnant mother, as she was driving her son to school one day: Two, soon three, police officers surrounded her. The officers thought she was speeding in a school zone; she says she was not. Brooks provided her identification when asked, so there was no doubt who she was or where to find her. The officers wrote her a ticket but she refused to sign it. Refusing to sign a speeding ticket was at the time a nonarrestable misdemeanor;now, in Washington, it is not even that. Brooks had no weapons and had not harmed or threatened to harm a soul.
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.
What the majority said: [More...]
Other factors we have considered also weigh against finding a constitutional violation. The Officers gave multiple warnings that a Taser would be used and explained its effects.... While the court may consider what the officers knew about a suspect’s health...the record indicates that, when the Officers discovered Brooks’s pregnancy, they took steps to employ a localized type of force away from her stomach. Brooks’s arrest was supported by probable cause under Washington law and the Officers’ use of force was in accordance with the SPD’s Use of Force Training Guideline.
...The Taser was used three times in this case, which constitutes a greater application of force than a single tasing. Nonetheless, in light of the totality of the circumstances, this does not push the use of force into the realm of excessive.
This is one of the most illogical, poorly reasoned court opinions I can recall in a long time.
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