A police officer saw a car run a red light and followed it. Upon stopping the vehicle and yelling for the driver to exit the vehicle, he deployed his TASER on the driver numerous times.
Review of the Case:
Around 8:45 pm on September 26, 2008, a 25 year-old woman was at home with her mother when she got a phone call from a man at the studio where she worked. She left her mom’s house and was driving to the studio. At 9:22 pm, an officer was traveling northbound in his marked vehicle, preparing to turn when, he said, he witnessed the woman’s blue four-door Chevrolet run a red light. The weather was cloudy with light rain, and the roadway was wet. He turned when the intersection was clear to follow the woman, activating his emergency lights. After passing another intersection, he activated his siren, as well. The woman was still traveling the speed limit of 40 miles per hour and had not yet acknowledged she was aware the officer was following her.
rappellingShe then noticed the officer following her, but she did not think he was stopping her because she did not realize she had run the red light. She drove the speed limit since there was nowhere to pull off the road to get out of the way. When she made a right turn and the police car was still following her, she realized he was trying to stop her. She pulled in once she realized that the police car behind her was after her and not someone else. She parked in a spot next to another car in an area, which, according to the officer, had residential lighting.
The officer in his police car followed the woman into the parking lot and parked diagonally to the left of her rear bumper. He exited his vehicle and put the spotlight on her car and approached her driver’s side window with one hand holding a flashlight and his right hand free in case he needed a weapon or to restrain the woman. He spoke in a loud voice telling her to exit her vehicle. The spotlight was brightly illuminating the interior of her vehicle. She was scared and could not see, so she said she put her arms up afraid the officer would shoot her. She heard the officer using profanity and yelling at her to get out of her vehicle. The officer said he instructed her five times to get out of her vehicle then he took out his baton and threatened to break the window. The woman informed the officer her door was broken and she would have to unlock it from inside to open it. At this time, she was continually asking the officer why she was being stopped and what she did. The officer admitted that he did not respond except to yell for her to get out of her vehicle.
The woman opened her car door. The officer said he instructed her three more times to get out of her vehicle, but she did not comply. The woman claimed she was getting out of her car when the officer forcibly attempted to pull her out. The officer said the woman was resisting and pulling away from him; but the woman claimed her seatbelt was still on, and she was unable to get out of the vehicle. The officer said he told the woman to exit the vehicle or he would Taser her. She reached to undo her seatbelt when the officer backed up to grab the TASER from his waist. He first deployed his TASER at the woman as she attempted to exit the car. She said she felt pain and saw blood and screamed as she jumped out of her car. The officer said the first TASER deployment was not effective, and he claimed the woman was resisting him by pulling away and continuing to ask why he stopped her. He then Tasered her again in the chest.
There were conflicting statements about how the woman got to the ground. Lying prone on the ground, her hands were underneath her body. Since it was lightly raining, her face was in a puddle of water. The officer was yelling at her to get her hands behind her back while he had his knee on her back. She said she was unable to get her hands out from underneath her belly because his knee was pushing her down.
The officer claimed the woman was resisting and refusing to get her hands behind her back, so he Tasered her thigh in drive stun mode. Only one hand came out from underneath her, so he Tasered her thigh again in drive stun mode. He then got both hands behind her back.
The officer handcuffed the woman and placed her in the front seat of his car. He then read her Miranda rights and told her she was being arrested. He says he smelled a moderate odor of alcohol and asked her if she had consumed any alcohol that evening, to which she responded no. She refused to take any field sobriety test or blood test at the hospital. She and her mother testified she had consumed no alcohol. Bruised and bloody, the woman was taken to the hospital. After being released from the hospital, she spent the night in jail.
Her car and belongings were thoroughly searched. No weapons or contraband of any kind were discovered.