Philadelphia police officers have a right to use reasonable force when making an arrest. However, when police officers use unreasonable force, the injured party might have a right to compensation in a civil rights lawsuit. One of the ways police officers subdue suspects is to use a taser gun against the suspect. Taser guns send out electrical probes that can be extremely painful. More police departments than ever are using tasers to subdue suspects. Tasers dump electrical energy into the suspect’s nervous system. Police tasing can cause energy loss, disorientation, difficulty moving, and in rare circumstances, death. 

Police officers can shoot tasers at a suspect from a distance. They can also apply the taser directly to the suspect’s skin. Those shot with a taser gun can also experience severe physical injuries such as heart attacks and other adverse health consequences. While it is not always possible to avoid a police officer tasing you, there are some steps to avoid being shot with a taser by the police. However, individuals can take every precaution and still be tased by a police officer. If you or a loved one hassuffered an injury caused by being shot with a taser by the police, you might be entitled to compensation.

 At Abramson & Denenberg, P.C., our Philadelphia civil rights attorneys have helped many clients recover compensation for injuries they sustained due to police brutality. Our lawyers are incredibly familiar with Pennsylvania’s personal injury law. We conduct thorough investigations into all of our client’s cases. To learn how we can help you seek compensation for injuries caused by police brutality, contact our law firm today to schedule your initial consultation. 

The Effects of Being Tasered by a Police Officer

In February 2019, two police officers pulled in front of a passenger in a Silver Ford Taurus. The police officers pulled the driver over after the driver allegedly engaged in a turn signal violation. Minutes later, the passenger alleges that a police officer tased him 10 times. One officer reportedly kneeled on the driver’s back while the other officer kicked him in the groin area. According to the police officer’s body camera footage and a federal lawsuit filed by the driver, a second officer allegedly pulled down the driver’s athletic shorts and tased him in the testicles.

Sadly, the driver’s 11 and 6-year-old sons witnessed the tasing. Several law enforcement officers agreed that the conduct was unlawful and potentially criminal. Why did law enforcement use a taser? The passenger asked the officers why they were requesting his identification when he was not driving the car. The police officer said he told the passenger that he needed to have ID as a passenger. The officer misstated the law, then opened the door and grabbed the passenger’s arm, preventing the seat belt from coming off. He then applied the taser the first time to the passenger’s arm. 

To Avoid Being Shot with a Taser, do Not Resist Arrest

Philadelphia police officers do not always use reasonable force when arresting suspects. In some cases, police officers engage in false arrests and arrest innocent suspects when they lack probable cause to arrest the suspect. When a suspect is facing a false arrest, it is easy for the suspect to want to defend himself or herself. Yelling at the police officers, resisting arrest, or charging the officer can occur. Nonetheless, engaging in these reactions increases the risk that a police officer will arrest the suspect. 

Unfortunately, law enforcement officers might still use tasers against individuals who are not resisting arrest or escalating the encounter with the law enforcement officer. In the instance mentioned above, which occurred in Arizona, the passenger in the vehicle was not resisting arrest in any way when the police officer used the taser on him. The passenger did not make any verbal threats or escalate the situation. The body camera footage shows that the passenger was merely asking why he needed to provide identification as a passenger. Experts who reviewed the footage noted that the law enforcement officer did not have a reason to detain the passenger or arrest him lawfully. Additionally, he had no justification for using force in the form of a taser. 

Act Calmly and Tell the Officers That You are Not Resisting Arrest

Police officers must issue a verbal warning to the suspect that they intend to use the taser. If a police officer tells you that he or she is about to use the taser, it might be wise to state loudly and respectfully that you are not resisting arrest and that you are trying to cooperate. It is essential to comply with what the police officer is asking you to do. If you are moving or fidgeting, it is best to stop moving and comply with the police officer’s directions.

Police officers do not have to issue a verbal warning that they are about to use the taser when doing so would put the officer’s safety in jeopardy, or when is not otherwise practicable in the circumstances. If you are resisting arrest by moving around and fighting the police officer, the officer might claim that he did not have to issue a verbal warning before using the taser. Similarly, if you are charging or moving toward the officer, the officer could claim his or her safety is in danger. Thus, it is wise to stay calm and still to avoid giving the officer a reason to fail to warn you of the taser use and then use the taser against you. 
If police officers are threatening to use a taser against you, tell them calmly that you are not resisting arrest. Remember that you have a right to remain silent. While it is wise not to resist arrest, it is not wise to answer questions without first speaking to an attorney. Police officers sometimes abuse their power by threatening the use of force to obtain a confession, even if it is false. If you have suffered an injury from a police officer using a taser against you unlawfully, we can help. Contact the Philadelphia civil rights attorneys at Abramson & Denenberg, P.C., to discuss your possible right to compensation.

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