Is Tasering Considered Excessive Force?

In May, the Supreme Court denied certiorari for a Ninth Circuit case where officers of the Seattle police department tasered a pregnant woman. In essence, the Supreme Court decided not to overturn the Ninth Circuit’s determination that the police used excessive force. The officers appealed when the Ninth Circuit held that the police used excessive force after the woman told them she was seven months pregnant and that they consulted with each other before inflicting personal injury upon her by using the taser.

More recently, Philadelphia lawyer, Edith Pearce, accepted a case where police are accused of tasering a suspect and causing him to fall 40 feet from a bridge. As the Ninth Circuit’s decision indicates, when police have knowledge of special circumstances at the scene of a crime and make a conscience, purposeful decision to taser the suspect in spite of those circumstances, the use of the taser may amount to excessive force. In such instances, the victim and his family should know that a personal injury attorney can help them vindicate the rights of the victim subject to excessive force by the police.

Though police are authorized to use force to execute an arrest, there are certain guidelines that constrain the police officers when deciding to use a taser, as the Ninth Circuit case indicates. Even when someone acts illegally or is being arrested, the Constitution guarantees certain rights. Personal injury lawyers advocate for you when your constitutional rights have been violated. If someone you know has suffered personal injury due to police brutality or by excessive force from other government employees, he or she should contact an experienced lawyer in Philadelphia to protect their rights and potentially recover damages.