Taser use by Florida law enforcement officers have led to the deaths of 65 Floridians since 2001 and with as many as 500 deaths in the United States by police using tasers inappropriately according to Amnesty International which shocks (sorry, couldn’t resist) even your favorite Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney, Amnesty in it’s report, also noted:
“Of the hundreds who have died following police use of Tasers in the USA, dozens and possibly scores of deaths can be traced to unnecessary force being used,” said Susan Lee of Amnesty International, “This is unacceptable, and stricter guidelines for their use are now imperative.”
Strict national guidelines on police use of Tasers and similar stun weapons – also known as Conducted Energy Devices (CEDs) – would effectively replace thousands of individual policies now followed by state and local agencies. Police forces across the USA currently permit a wide use of the weapons, often in situations that do not warrant such a high level of force.
The stunning lack of protection for Floridians includes a recent Tampa Bay taser case in Pinellas Park Florida where a Florida Highway Patrol Officer left a twenty year old lady in a vegetative brain-dead state for the rest of her life after her arrest for a nonviolent crime from which she tried to escape after being handcuffed while the officer was doing paper work for her arrest. In her case a video shows that when the taser was fired her collapsed immediately, her head striking the pavement. Using a taser on someone who is handcuffed is usually not permitted and she will never recover according to a well done series of articles in The Tampa Bay Times.
Many Officers seem to falsely believe that Taser use is relatively benign not unlike pepper spray; however, the huge number of deaths and serious injuries being caused by Law Enforcement in Tampa Bay Florida and throughout the United States show that a tasers is a deadly weapons when handled inappropriately. New taser use Guidelines should be implemented to prohibit the use of tasers except in extraordinary circumstances. Clearly, Police should never be permitted to use a taser nor risk deadly force in cases where the alleged criminal misconduct is nonviolent as the risk of injury is too great. Should you or a loved one have need to speak with a Pinellas Criminal Law Attorney about your case we’ll look for the best solution to your problem.
The Florida Statute below delineates when an officer in Florida may use force. The statute does reflect in Section 776.05(3)(b) that nonviolent felonies should be treated with less force during an arrest than violent felonies as the public has less security interests in force being used to subdue any nonviolent felon for charged or uncharged misconduct. This reasoning should also apply when a nonviolent suspect attempts an escape but doesn’t because of Section 776.05(2) – this portion of the statute should be changed by the Florida legislature to protect Floridians from Police use of force. Also, in light of taser dangers of deadly force with 500 deaths nationally and 65 deaths in Florida since 2001 the statute must be reinterpreted by law enforcement agencies in light of the risk of deadly force.
776.05 Law enforcement officers; use of force in making an arrest. A law enforcement officer, or any person whom the officer has summoned or directed to assist him or her, need not retreat or desist from efforts to make a lawful arrest because of resistance or threatened resistance to the arrest. The officer is justified in the use of any force:
(1) Which he or she reasonably believes to be necessary to defend himself or herself or another from bodily harm while making the arrest;
(2) When necessarily committed in retaking felons who have escaped; or
(3) When necessarily committed in arresting felons fleeing from justice. However, this subsection shall not constitute a defense in any civil action for damages brought for the wrongful use of deadly force unless the use of deadly force was necessary to prevent the arrest from being defeated by such flight and, when feasible, some warning had been given, and: (a) The officer reasonably believes that the fleeing felon poses a threat of death or serious physical harm to the officer or others; or (b) The officer reasonably believes that the fleeing felon has committed a crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm to another person.
|The Eiffel Tower receives a Taser.
Stand your ground is the law in Florida. Recently in Tampa a man stabbed another man in the head with an ice pick after a traffic dispute leaving the stabbed man in critical condition. His defense was that he was standing his ground.
In Clearwater the police determined there would be no arrest of a man who shot his neighbor after a shouting match over putting out garbage.
In Hillsborough a jogger shot and killed
an unarmed man eight times, yet the jogger was not prosecuted after establishing that he’d been struck in the face first and believed the other man to be armed. But eight shots, you’d think he might have stopped at seven…
The Florida law gives people the right to use deadly force against intruders entering their homes or vehicles, no longer needing to prove fear for their safety, only that the person who is stabbed, shot with a firearm or even killed intruded unlawfully and forcefully. Thus making a defense to charges of aggravated battery
Previous Florida law and common law required that a person attacked in a public place must retreat if possible. Now someone attacked in public, “has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force.” The law also forbids the arrest, detention or prosecution of the people covered by the law, and it prohibits civil suits against them.
The central innovation in the Florida law is in expanding the right to shoot intruders who pose no threat to the occupant’s safety. According to the International Herald Tribune, one professor of law noted, “In effect,” Professor Sebok said, “the law allows citizens to kill other citizens in defense of property.” At least the Florida Supreme Court
has ruled in its standard jury instructions
that the Defendant must actually believe that the threat and danger is real. Statutes & Constitution :View Statutes : Online Sunshine
776.013 Home protection; use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm.—
(1) A person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:
(a) The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person’s will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle; and
(b) The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.
(2) The presumption set forth in subsection (1) does not apply if:
(a) The person against whom the defensive force is used has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling, residence, or vehicle, such as an owner, lessee, or titleholder, and there is not an injunction for protection from domestic violence or a written pretrial supervision order of no contact against that person; or
(b) The person or persons sought to be removed is a child or grandchild, or is otherwise in the lawful custody or under the lawful guardianship of, the person against whom the defensive force is used; or
(c) The person who uses defensive force is engaged in an unlawful activity or is using the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle to further an unlawful activity; or
(d) The person against whom the defensive force is used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who enters or attempts to enter a dwelling, residence, or vehicle in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person entering or attempting to enter was a law enforcement officer.
(3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
(4) A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter a person’s dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.
Members of the Florida Supreme Court rest after a hard day’s work in the Fields of Justice.