On May 24, the U.S. Supreme Court is slated to decide whether to hear an appeal from three Seattle officers who used a Taser on a pregnant woman several times for refusing to sign a speeding ticket, The New York Times reports.
In 2004, Malaika Brooks was seven months pregnant and driving her son to school, the Associated Press reported at the time. Police pulled Brooks over for going 32 mph in a 20 mph school zone; she maintained it was the car in front of her that was speeding.
When Brooks declined to sign the speeding ticket, the police warned her that refusal would result in arrest, according to testimony reported by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The officers called their supervisor, who told them to proceed with the arrest if Brooks didn't comply.
When Brooks didn't get out of the car as requested, police allegedly warned her by clicking the Taser in the air. The woman said she wasn't aware what the device was at the time and was later shocked three times -- on the leg, neck and arm -- even though the officers knew she was far along in her pregnancy.
According to The New York Times, the officers then laid Brooks on the street face-fist and placed handcuffs on her wrists.
The mother was later charged with refusing to obey an officer and resisting arrest.
At her 2005 criminal trial, Brooks was convicted of the first charge but not the second. Brooks remained steadfast that the officers used excessive force and soon filed a lawsuit.
When the case went in front of judges at the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2011, they ruled in favor (2-1) of the officers, stating the police were justified in making the arrest, according to the Associated Press. They also ruled the officers could not be sued for using excessive force because Taser laws at the time were unclear.
In 2005, Seattle introduced guidelines regarding the use of stun guns on pregnant women, children and the elderly.
Still, the three officers are looking to the Supreme Court to receive confirmation they were justified in using the Taser, and their decision to do so is stirring controversy all over again.
Mary Fischer, a mother and writer for Cafe Mom's "The Stir," said she hopes the Supreme Court looks down upon their appeal.
I was lucky if I could make it up the stairs in my house during my last trimester, and there's definitely no way I could've outrun a cop. Don't these men realize that by shedding more light on the incident, they are only making themselves look like a bunch of wusses?
Similarly, Jezebel's Cassie Murdoch wrote that although Brooks could've cooperated in the first place, the officers are going too far in trying to justify their actions.
What's odd is that the police ultimately won the court case that ensued, but they've appealed to the Supreme Court because the lower court ruled that while they did use excessive force, they were immune from Brooks's claim. That's not good enough for them because they feel the ruling restricts their ability to use a taser on other people in the future.
Update 10:43 a.m.
The three Seattle police officers involved in the case are Steven L. Daman, Donald M. Jones and Juan M. Ornelas.
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