A recent study from Drexel University and Arizona State University confirmed what many criminal and civil rights lawyers saw for years in practice: when police misuse tasers, it can cause temporary brain damage to the victim. This calls into question the ability of the tasering victim to properly and legally consent to Miranda warnings about answering questions in regards to a police investigation. What is so compelling about the study is that the evaluators used young, healthy men in the study, which is the main population of victims of taser usage and police brutality in general.
More specifically, evaluators found that when a young man was tased for five seconds with 50,000 volts of electricity, he generally performed at a level equivalent to a 78-year-old man with mild onset mental impairment. This length of tasering is rather common in police misconduct and police brutality cases. There is no doubt that there is a substantial difference in the executive functioning skills of a 78-year-old man with mild cognitive impairment compared to a 20-year-old. In short, if the police would not question a 78-year-old mildly confused man, they should not question any person who they recently tased.
The lead author of the study, Rob Kane of Drexel University’s Department of Criminology and Justice, noted that the cognitive impairment generally disappeared within an hour. While this study leaves many questions unanswered and creates many more, it is clearly an important step toward understanding the issue at large. Furthermore, it should be an impetus for additional studies to help answer questions such as:
- What tests should a tasering victim be able to perform to insure that the cognitive impairment has abated?
- What happens if the taser is used in conjunction with other mechanisms to subdue the suspect?
- What happens if the suspect had mental health ailments prior to the use of the taser?
Until that time, police officers should be doubly cautious when it comes to misuse of tasers and police brutality. Additionally, police officers and detectives should also ensure that after they interact with a victim of a taser attack, they should not question them until they are evaluated by a medical professional.
Philadelphia Brutality Lawyers at the Law Offices of Patrick G. Geckle, LLC Hold Police Accountable for Brutality and Taser Usage
Philadelphia police misconduct lawyers at the Law Offices of Patrick G. Geckle, LLC have consistently and zealously fought for the rights of all defendants. We seek just compensation whenever the police employed inappropriate, excessive or unwarranted force. We regularly represent clients in Philadelphia County, Montgomery County, Bucks County and Chester County.
If you or a loved one were the victim of misuse of tasers by police officers or otherwise the victim of excessive police force, contact the Law Offices of Patrick M. Geckle, LLC today. You can call us at 215-735 3326 to review the facts of your case or contact us online.