During 2015 and 2016, seventy-two people reportedly died after being shot with a Police Taser by police officers! The Taser is reputedly a non-lethal use of force helpful in coercing a non-compliant suspect through pain, and if necessary, by incapacitating the target, to comply with the police officer’s orders. However, if deployed without proper training, being shot with a Taser could prove to be deadly.
A Taser gun is basically an electroshock weapon. It works the same way essentially as an ordinary stun gun, except that it fires two electrodes that are not permanently joined to the housing. When the operator pulls the trigger the Taser fires two small dart-like electrodes, which stay connected to the main unit by conductors. The velocity of the darts or electrodes cause them to embed in the skin of the target, whereupon the housing unit delivers an electric current which disrupts the targets voluntary muscle control resulting in neuromuscular incapacitation. An individual struck by Taser darts experiences extreme pain and over-stimulation of his or her sensory and motor nerves, resulting in strong involuntary muscle contractions. In addition to causing pain, depending on the mode used, Tasers can also incapacitate (unless used solely in “Drive Stun.”)
The Taser administers shocks causing the target to fall immediately to the ground, often causing head, back or limbs injury. In addition, another concern of Police Taser deployment, is the unpredictable reaction on the recipient. If the person tased has drugs in his or her system, legal or illegal, it is unpredictable how that individual’s body will react to the impact of the voltage. If the person has any physical ailments or handicaps, the harm can be great, including being fatal.
Police officer tasing must use restraint when firing a Taser. Whether it’s a gun, baton or taser, there is a risk that the person on the receiving end could be seriously injured or even killed. Accordingly, training is paramount and the force and the manner in which its applied must be reasonable, based upon what the officer knew at the time of he or she fired the Taser.
As with all civil suits the plaintiff has burden of proving that the officer’s use of force was unreasonable. Whether the individual tased resisted arrest at any relevant point, or is reasonably believed to have committed a violent or dangerous felony, will be an important factor in any future recovery of damages.
Time is of the essence as there are statutes of limitations applicable to all civil claims against governmental agencies, and their employees, such as police officers and sheriff’s deputies. For claims based upon federal statute (42 USC Section 1983 claims) there is a two-year statute of limitations in California. For California State law claims, such as California Civil Code 52.1 claims (a California statute which includes recovery of damages for federal civil rights violations), and claims for assault, battery, and negligence, it is mandatory to give notice of your intent to file a lawsuit to the individual police officer’s employer. This has to be done no later than six months following the incident during which the injury occurred. Unless filed in a timely manner you will forever lose your ability to file a lawsuit for damages.
It will be very difficult for you to file a case of this nature on your own. You should consult with legal counsel! By sitting down and strategizing with one of our Police Tasing lawyers, you will greatly increase your chances of succeeding with your potential case.
Call to speak with one of our Police Tasing attorneys in Riverside, San Bernadino or Orange County.
Represented client injured by custodial staff while in prison. Case settled for $500,000 before trial.
Represented client injured by custodial staff while in jail. Case settled for $335,000 before trial.
Represented client subject to unreasonable search and seizure, and then subject to excessive force, being Tased by a police officer. Case settled for $400,000 before trial.