Georgia Police Officer Sentenced to Life in Prison for Taser Death: A New Disturbing Trend?


By : Sun Choy

Deaths associated with the use of Tasers is nothing new. What is unprecedented is a life sentence for an officer convicted for the tasing death of a handcuffed suspect. There are numerous decisions in the civil context that stand for the proposition that officers may tase handcuffed suspects as a form of acceptable pain compliance. Of course, there are limitations on the use of tasers dictated by the particular circumstances of each case. While criminal prosecutions for the excessive use of tasers is not unprecedented, does an unprecedented life sentence for the use of a “non-lethal” tactical tool, especially in a case where the suspect had preexisting medical issues that may have contributed to the death, set a bad precedent? Big picture – how does such a precedent impact the retention and recruitment of qualified officers? These are critical issues that deserve more attention from all sectors of society or such tragic events will likely become more prevalent as “less qualified” candidates are allowed to become officers out of shear necessity.  

For any questions please contact Sun Choy at [email protected].