Was Taser use on pregnant woman excessive force? Supreme Court declines case.
The Supreme Court refused the case of a pregnant woman who was ticketed for speeding in a school zone in Seattle. When she refused to get out of her car, police used a Taser to shock her three times.
The US Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to take up the appeal of a pregnant woman who was shocked three times with a police Taser after she refused to sign a traffic ticket for driving 32 miles per hour in a 20 m.p.h. school zone.
The woman, Malaika Brooks, was seven months pregnant and was driving her 11-year-old son to school in Seattle at the time of the speeding violation.
At issue in the case was whether police acted reasonably in deploying the Taser after Ms. Brooks refused to sign the speeding ticket and then refused to voluntarily exit her car to allow officers to place her under arrest.
The justices were being asked to examine under what circumstances police use of a Taser device crosses the line from acceptable law enforcement tactic to excessive force.
The high court also declined to hear a second police Taser case involving a woman in Maui, Hawaii, Jayzel Mattos, who was intentionally shocked with a Taser as police attempted to arrest her husband, Troy, following a domestic abuse allegation.
Both Brooks and Ms. Mattos filed suit against the police, alleging they violated their Fourth Amendment right to be free from the use of excessive force. Lawyers for the police officers argued that the officers were protected from such lawsuits by qualified immunity.
In both cases, federal judges ruled that the police officers were not entitled to qualified immunity, and that the cases should proceed to a trial.
The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, ruling that even though the actions by police amounted to the excessive use of force, the law was not established clearly enough at the time of both incidents to give police fair warning that their actions were unreasonable and unconstitutional.