A federal appeals court reversed itself Friday and dismissed a lawsuit by a Southern California man who was Tasered by a police officer after being stopped for not wearing a seat belt.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco had initially ruled in Carl Bryan’s case in December, saying police must have reasons to believe a suspect is dangerous before firing a Taser and can’t use the weapon merely because the person is disobeying orders or acting erratically.

The court reaffirmed that conclusion Friday, setting legal standards for excessive-force suits against police who use stun guns in the Ninth Circuit’s jurisdiction of California and eight other Western states.

But the three-judge panel also said – contrary to its previous decision – that the laws governing Tasers were unclear at the time of the incident and the officer would not necessarily have known that he was violating Bryan’s rights.

You know how they always say that ignorance of the law is no excuse? Well apparently it is an excuse for cops.

  1. R.O.P. says:

    Tasers would have killed the civil rights movement. Civil disobedience, apparently, is more than enough just cause for taser deployment. Instead of images of firehoses, dogs, gunfire, and beatings used on protesters it would be protesters in the throes of electricity induced palsy. And, of course, everyone would say that the pictures/video was not put in proper perspective.

  2. Who says:

    If I get tasered by a cop, I will go Israeli on him. I’d kill him and his entire family.

  3. Maricopa says:

    # 31 Who said, – I’d kill him and his entire family.

    What if it’s a lady cop who tasers you?
    And when you say “entire family” can you be more specific? Grandparents? Second cousins? In-laws?

  4. GregAllen says:


    I thought the same as you… that it was not likely this guy got Tasered® _only_ for not wearing his seatbelt.

    But do you think a guy should get Tasered® for shouting jibberish? Or wearing boxer shorts?

    Since getting Tasered® is torture-like pain and sometimes fatal, the rules for using it should be far more than odd dress or erratic behavior.

  5. GregAllen says:

    >> Who said, on June 20th, 2010 at 3:54 pm
    >> If I get tasered by a cop, I will go Israeli on him. I’d kill him and his entire family.

    “Who” needs to ice his bigoted groin after that stretch!

  6. GregAllen says:

    >> blackfeathers said, on June 19th, 2010 at 8:23 pm
    >> pet peeve:
    >> stun guns are not tasers and vice versa.
    >> why is it so difficult to understand the difference between the two?

    Maybe because Tasers sort-of look like guns and are used to stun people!

    Seriously, dude, you need to let this issue go.

  7. GregAllen says:

    >> # 29 allthenewsthatfitsweprint said, on June 20th, 2010 at 11:26 am
    >> cursing , pounding thighs and talking gibberish?

    So, you thank that “pounding thighs” warrants an sometime-fatal but always-agonizing tactic on him?


    What’s with some people (usually conservatives)? They ALWAYS side with the cops. ALWAYS rationalize away anything they do!

    Clearly, they have a thing for a man in a uniform. It’s some sort of authority figure fantasy thing.

  8. Universal says:


  9. allthenews says:

    The cop should have NOT taserd him. But the headline that he was tasered for not wearing a seat belt is not correct. And the courts did not say it’s ok to taser someone for no seat belt.

    Does the C stand for crap.

  10. bobbo, can conspiracy theories prove all says:

    #34–Greg==I agree with you, Tasers are torture and the favorite/legalized weapon of the dull witted power made undertrained poorly selected drones that use them.

    Tasers should be used today when a gun would have been used yesterday. Tasers should not replace intelligence and talking a victim/perp/witness/citizen thru the situation both are dealing with.

  11. Glenn E. says:

    Just wait until the SF cops go from using Tasers, to Phasers. Then they’ll be using the “stun setting” for everything from J-walking to littering.


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