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A Fourth Amendment violation to repeatedly taser an arrested person who is not resisting

Bob Glasscox sued Officer David Moses and the City of Argo, Alabama under 42 U.S.C. 1983 for excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment for injuries he received when Officer Moses tased him four times in rapid succession. Glasscox, a type 1 diabetic, suffered a severe hypoglycemic episode while driving his pickup truck on Interstate 59 near Argo, Alabama. His condition caused him to begin driving erratically, and after other drivers reported his erratic driving Officer Moses was dispatched to the scene. The events that unfolded were captured on his body camera.

The officer followed Glasscox, and when he activated his emergency lights and siren Glasscox acceleratee. Eventually Glasscox’s truck stopped in the interstates’ median near the fast lane. Officer Moses approached the driver’s side with his firearm and his taser drawn. Officer Moses ordered Mr. Glasscox out of the car but his remained in the care. He deployed his taser the first time. As Glasscox attempted to unbuckle his seatbelt and while he was still in pain from the first shooting, Moses deployed the taser a second time. He deployed it two more times. Emergency medical services reports indicate that Glasscox’s blood augur was low and his erratice driving resulted from severe hypoglycemic episode. As a result of the taser his injuries included bleeding from the taser probes and psychological injuries.

In this appeal, Officer Moses and the City of Argo claim that Moses is entitled to qualified immunity and not liable for Glasscox’s injuries. The court of appeals rejected the officer’s qualified immunity argument and found him liable for violating Glasscox’s Fourth Amendment to be free from the excessive use of force by repeatedly tasing him even though Mr. Glasscox had ceased any resistance and was attempting to comply with Officer Moses’s commands. The court found that even if Officer Moses reasonably deployed his taser twice, a reasonable jury could find that the continued use of the taser, when video recording conclusively shows that Mr. Glasscox was not resisting but instead voicing his desire to comply with the officer’s commands, provided he was given a chance to do so, violated Mr. Glasscox’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from the excessive use of force.

Even in light of the severity of the crime in question, reckless, dangerous and eluding the police officer by driving for five miles at a speed of 80 miles per hour in a 70 mile an hour speed zone, the officer issued repeated taser shocks to Mr. Glasscox after he ceased driving recklessly and eluding law enforcement. After the second taser deployment Mr. Glasscox was no longer engaged in any dangerous of violent behavior justifying repeated use of the taser.

The court of appeals also a civil rights violation for excessive force here because a reasonable officer in these circumstances would have fair warning that repeatedly deploying his taser when Glasscox was not resisting and was attempting to comply with the officer’s commands was unconstitutionally excessive. In light of the clearly established law, no objectively reasonable officer in Officer Moses’ position could have thought it was lawful to use a taser repeatedly on an arrestee who was not resisting.

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