The United States 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has recently decided the case of Perea v. Baca and City of Albuquerque. The result will likely have widespread impact on officers across the country. The excessive force lawsuit against Albuquerque, New Mexico police officers was based on the officers use of a TASER™, mostly in “drive-stun” mode, during their attempt to subdue a mentally unstable subject. The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the officers, and their decision paid particular distinction between use of force during a well-being check versus use of force during an arrest.
The use of the Taser as an intermediate control weapon has been widely used by law enforcement agencies around the world, not just in the United States. However, the use of the Taser in the U.S. has seen particularly harsh responses by some groups. The death of suspects after a Taser use has been called reckless homicide by some, while vehemently defended by the company as scientifically unproven. In deed, most of the Taser deaths absent some other factor (like falling) involved persons with high mixtures of controlled and other drugs in their systems.