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Tasered Woman Wins Trial In Suit Against Cops

•  National News     updated  2009/07/27 09:12


According to Courthouse News, Minnesota police illegally Tasered a woman for refusing to hang up her 911 call after officers handcuffed her husband during a traffic stop, the 8th Circuit ruled.

Sandra Brown and her husband, Richard, were driving home from dinner in downtown Minneapolis when they were pulled over by a Golden Valley squad car. One of the officers asked Richard if he knew why he'd been stopped, and Richard replied that he did not.

What happened after involved what Sandra, the passenger, thought to be excessive aggression, so she called 911.

Backup officer Rob Zarrett ordered Sandra to "Get off the phone." When she refused, he Tasered her. He claimed the action was necessary, because Sandra had disobeyed his orders to unfasten her seatbelt. He also spotted two empty cocktail glasses on the floors, in violation of the state's open-container law.

Sandra sued Zarrett and the city of Golden Valley for use of excessive force, claiming she was physically and psychologically injured by the Tasering.

"Given the circumstances surrounding the Tasering and arrest, we are not convinced that Zarrett's use of force was objectively reasonable as a matter of law," the St. Louis-based appeals court ruled.

Judge Wollman pointed out that Sandra had not been trying to flee or resist arrest when she was Tasered.



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