Lawsuit: Use of “Taser is not unconstitutional when used to compel obedience”

Cop fired weapon into chest of handcuffed woman at point blank range

Steve Watson
Dec 11, 2012

Cops and attorneys have argued in an ongoing lawsuit that the use of a taser at point blank range on a handcuffed woman does not constitute assault with dangerous weapon, and ” that the use of a Taser is not unconstitutional when used to compel obedience by inmates.”

The arguments were made as part of a motion to dismiss charges against an Oklahoma police officer in a civil suit brought by Nakina Williams following an incident in June.

Officer Sterling Taylor-Santino was filmed tasering Williams in the chest at point blank range while she was already under custody with her hands cuffed behind her back at the Pittsburg County Jail.

Watch the video:

Following the incident, Willams was charged with felony assault and battery on a police officer, and expectorating on a police officer, as well as public intoxication. She was given a 10-year suspended sentence.

In October, officer Taylor was charged with felony assault and battery against Williams who filed suit, seeking over $2 million in damages.

The court records, obtained by the McAlester News Capital, show that Williams’ attorneys contend that the officer violated her civil and constitutional rights.

“The use of force used by Taylor, in shooting Williams with a Taser while she was handcuffed, constitutes an unreasonable and excessive use of force in violation of (her) constitutional rights as guaranteed by the United States Constitution and Amendments,” the suit alleges.

Officer Taylor’s attorney contends that he “used the Taser in the manner in which (it) was intended to be used” and that the information in Williams’ case does not prove that a taser is a dangerous weapon.

Taylor’s motion also makes the claim that the use of the weapon in such a fashion does not violate constitutional rights because he was trained as a police officer that it was within the law to use the weapon to control a dangerous or violent subject.

Because Williams spat at Taylor, he was within his rights to use the taser, as he was attempting to “control her behavior,” rather than purposefully injure her, argues the attorney.

“While it can certainly be argued that (Taylor) was in error as to whether this was an appropriate circumstance to deploy the Taser, the motion states, “There is no evidence that he acted with an intent to injure any person.”

Williams’ lawsuit also states that when officer Taylor stopped tasing her, he yanked out the barbs, which were embedded in her left breast, leaving scarring. Normally officers are required to take the suspect to hospital to remove the barbs.

The lawsuit also claims that Taylor lied on his report of the incident.

“In his ‘use of force report,’ (Mr Taylor-Santino) sought to cover up and/or conceal his actions… by omitting that (Ms Williams) was handcuffed when she was shot with the taser,” the suit alleges.

“As a result, he was found to have acted ‘within policy’ by police department officials.”

The lawsuit also alleges that Taylor has a “violent work history”, and that a “disproportionate number” of “allegations of excessive force” have been filed against him.

According to the McAlester police department, officer Taylor has been put on desk duty until court the proceedings are over.

As we have highlighted many times, tasers are designed to be used in emergency situations only, as a last resort before lethal force.

Despite Taser International’s claims to the contrary, numerous studies over recent years have proven that Taser stun guns can cause heart problemsand even induce sudden and lethal cardiac arrest.

Recently, two police officers in Texas tasered a man who was having a seizure, causing the 50-year-old to suffer a heart attack and permanent brain damage. The cops were so ill equipped to deal with the situation, that they broke out tasers and shocked a man who was already convulsing on the ground.

It took paramedics 11 minutes to revive the man and bring back his pulse. It is a miracle he is still alive, though he will now have to live with severe disabilities for the rest of his life.

Last month it was revealed that a Los Angeles woman who was stopped by police had a heart attack and almost diedafter the officers tasered her when she refused to allow them to search through her personal belongings.

It is endless amounts of these kind of incidents that show cops are not being trained to use tasers only in situations when they are threatened. They are using the weapons on anyone who does not immediately respond to orders, and now even contending that it is constitutional to force obedience with a taser.


Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’, and He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham in England.


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