Police Officers' Lawyer Claims Being Tased Is Hilarious

from the just-watch-out-for-the-'punchlines'-and-'rimshots' dept

Oddly enough, cops (and lawyers for cops) from halfway around the world are no different than our local variety. This isn't solely an "American" problem. Excessive force is used, the victim complains, and once the court battle ensues, the justifications for the use of force are presented, which often sound completely insane to those not well-versed in the art of defending abusive cops.

This story starts out like countless others (via The Honest Courtesan).

Aaron Strahan and Troy Tomlin are on trial accused of assaulting Kevin Spratt by repeatedly tasering him in August 2008.

Sergeant Strahan, who was a Senior Constable at the time, had arrested Mr Spratt in Bayswater...

The officers have denied any wrongdoing and today Sergeant Strahan testified he tasered Mr Spratt because he was acting violently and had broken free from four other officers.

The officer testified he feared that he or somebody else was going to get hurt.
The "somebody else" of course being him or one of his fellow officers. Spratt was tased 13 times, and all of it (including audio) was captured by the station's cameras. Spratt reportedly refused to head into a holding cell for a strip search and was under the influence of drugs and alcohol. So, the officers tased him. And did it again and again while Spratt screamed.

But appearances (and audio) can be deceiving. Much like homeless man Kelly Thomas died of a drug-weakened heart condition instead of by being beaten and subdued by six Fullerton police officers, Mr. Spratt's screams were the result of him being under the influence of something else as well: FUN!
Their lawyer, Karen Vernon, has argued that five of the seven charges against her clients should be thrown out because the evidence does not support the allegations against them.

The Magistrate questioned Ms Vernon about hearing Mr Spratt screaming in anguish, but she said people responded differently to pain, and the screams could have been with joy or laughter.
It seems ridiculous to those of us who haven't read The Joy of Tasing or 1001 Taser Jokes cover-to-cover, but the possibility remains that Spratt might have recoiled in laughter and screamed in abject joy as the four cops repeatedly pulled the trigger on their department-issued Fun Guns.

It seems ridiculous to us. More importantly, it seemed ridiculous to the judge, who dismissed Vernon's imbecilic argument. The case, however, will be allowed to continue. Whether Vernon will still be handling the defense remains to be seen.

Remember kids, electricity is fun, especially when deployed by cops fearing for their safety… or yours. If you're really lucky, the Fun Sticks will make an appearance and you'll be able to tell your friends about the "discussion" you had with the officers and how your sides still hurt from screaming with laughter.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 3:36am

    Really. If I were the judge I'd ask the lawyer for a demonstration on himself on the wonder laughing world of tasering pleasure. 13 times.

     

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  2.  
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    I'm_Having_None_Of_It, Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 5:41am

    What Ninja said. That is the most ridiculous argument ever.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 5:44am

    How the hell did that lawyer even get his license to practice?

     

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  4.  
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    Jake, Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 5:46am

    I just facepalmed so hard I may have developed a black eye.

    I wonder if I could sue the layer for that?

     

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  5.  
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    arcan, Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 5:58am

    The bar really has been lowered, hasn't it.

     

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  6.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 6:01am

    Hmm...

    So, the next time there's an article on police getting beaten up and screaming for help, we can just go "listen to him, he's enjoying it, listen to his screams of joy and laughter."

     

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  7.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 6:02am

    Re:

    Ridiculous argument? Just head on over to YouTube. Thousands of videos demonstrate that people think getting kicked in the balls is also hilarious.

    Also, please consider, the police may have had a reasonable belief that the screams were hilarity on the part of the victim. The cops could simply have been projecting and assuming their own enjoyment was shared by the victim.

    Screams of hilarity. A simple false assumption. Harmless. A simple mistake anyone could have made.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 6:03am

    this is just running in the same vain as countless other cases. the police can do whatever they like and even if it results in the death of someone, they get away with it.

    i hope though that anyone who was on the jury in the Kelly Thomas case doesn't go through the same thing with a member of their family. how could anyone even contemplate the verdict handed down in that case is beyond me!

     

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  9.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 6:05am

    Re: Re:

    Oh, and one more argument the defense could use.

    The cops are professionals. Professionals would never abuse their power. Just ask Diane Feinstein.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 6:18am

    If they think getting tased is fun, I'd like to know what sexual fetishes they have.

    Perhaps them and their lover enjoy tasing each other and somehow get a sexual thrill out of an electric shock to their genitals!

    After all, if people enjoy bondage and spanking for sexual fetishes, why not up it to electric shocks for pleasure?

    Next thing we know when those cops murder their next victim they'll say "it wasn't murder, we were just helping them have fun. We just got a little bit carried away giving each other beatings and electric shocks for fun, but they sure enjoyed it, they screamed in joy when dying".

     

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  11.  
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    Guardian, Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 6:25am

    shock therapy is fun

    Damn i wish i could get shock therapy for free....like this police officer says its great ZAAAAAAP....NOT

     

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  12.  
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    MadAsASnake (profile), Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 6:28am

    The Taser. The must-have Christmas Present for all 12 - 14 year olds in 2014. Just think how much fun they'll all have!

     

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  13.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 6:30am

    OTOH

    This is fodder for my new novel "50 Tazes of Grey"

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 6:36am

    Is this part of some gambit?

    Lose, then appeal on grounds that you got incompetent council and hope they don't decide to retry?

     

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  15.  
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    scotts13 (profile), Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 6:45am

    It's the law, it doesn't have to make sense

    When they don't have anything else (and sometimes if they do) lawyers will present any and every wildly implausible scenario, just to obfuscate and slow things down. After everyone has slogged through all that - "No, he wasn't having fun. No, space aliens didn't make them do it." they're too sick of the process to evaluate the real facts. "Fine, whatever, let them go - or she'll just come up with something else."

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 6:49am

    And I thought clowns were scary.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 6:55am

    Re:

    @arcan
    "The bar really has been lowered, hasn't it."

    Read through legal history and you will find that the bar started on the ground.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 6:59am

    no no no, he said he wanted to see if he could dodge bullets.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 7:02am

    Re: Re:

    I know, right?! My favorite ones are the ones where a dude gets kicked 13 times in a row!

     

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  20.  
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    Adam V, Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 7:04am

    Re:

    Why stop with one lawyer? If he doesn't laugh, we go to the cop in question and try it on him. Keep going through an entire department or until we finally find the one who finds it hilarious.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 7:10am

    Getting tased isn't hilarious? Well, I'm shocked.

     

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  22.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 7:14am

    Smokes and Mirrors

    Their lawyer, Karen Vernon, has argued that five of the seven charges against her clients should be thrown out because the evidence does not support the allegations against them.

    Does this mean that the other two charges they are making admissions too? *snorts*

    Actually this is pure theater on behalf of Ms Vernon who is a standard Local Court Solicitor.

    Also it's not actually a Judge in charge here but instead is a Magistrate and most likely is NOT in front of a standard jury. Only in District and Above courts are there Judges in Aust. In fact this is most likely a committal mention to see if it should be sent up to the District Court (or higher in Western Australia) for trial in front of a Jury.

    Also it's of note to know that Tasers are classified as "less-lethal weapons" and not Non-lethal weapons in Western Australia, which is highly significant for this case where the LEO's have also been stripped of their Qualified Immunity.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 7:24am

    We need a revolution.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
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    krolork (profile), Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 7:25am

    We need a revolution.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 7:33am

    Re: Hmm...

    Police don't get beat up. At the point they think they might take a good ass whooping, they kill.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 7:37am

    They just misunderstood what the victim was saying. He said 'don't tase me bro' and they heard 'please tase me mo.'

     

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  27.  
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    PRMan, Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 7:45am

    Re:

    If you mean the bar exam, then apparently so.

     

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  28.  
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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 8:17am

    Re:

    why not up it to electric shocks for pleasure?
    Why not indeed? But I think you'd find if you asked anyone who's tried it, they still don't want to be tased once never mind 13 times.

     

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  29.  
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    Drew, Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 8:19am

    BS!

    I've rode the lightning on more than one occasion and hurts like hell. What will the next claim be? Being shot in the head is drop dead funny?

     

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  30.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 8:26am

    Cutting

    Some people enjoy cutting themselves, too. So that means it's OK to go around cutting people? They might be into it, after all.

     

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  31.  
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    Your Anonymous Friend, Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 8:32am

    I think it's well-known in the legal profession that prosecutors, judges and juries require no persuasion whatsoever to be convinced that the influence of drugs (illegal ones, mainly) causes pretty much any behavior whatsoever. Screaming while being tasered = surely screams of pain...oh wait, did you say the guy is hopped up on drugs? Never mind! He probably had a boner the whole time!

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 9:09am

    It is very funny... if the person being tazed is this moron and not you. Hmm... a Taser is a device intended to cause pain and stun the victim, so it makes perfect sense that the guy enjoyed it!

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 9:37am

    Re: Cutting

    Of course it's not ok going around and cutting anyone, but if you do happen to cut someone, and they happen to cry out, they could be crying out in joy of that pain - THAT is ok.

    Get your facts straight.

    It takes years of experience and training as a police officer to learn the art of identifying someone who would like to be tased - just by looking at them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 2:02pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yep here in Australia all professionals are beyond reproach, just ask our Prime Minister Tony Abbott on how our Navy boys & girls aren't rough handling refugees coming by boat to Australia (we are an island after all) despite claims that say otherwise from the refugees' statements to the Indonesian police.
    It's getting to such a stage that the Indonesian armed forces are waiting for the Aust navy to breach their territorial waters once again in the 'War on Illegal Immigrants' with warships & fighter planes.
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/23/indonesia-moves-warships-towards-border

     

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  35.  
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    John85851 (profile), Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 2:37pm

    Yet another defense lawyer tactic

    We should all know by now that a defense lawyer's job is to convince the judge or jury that the defendant is innocent (or had reasons for doing something). When there's obvious video evidence, a lawyer will try anything, the most famous of which is "blame the victim". We shouldn't be surprised when some lawyers use outlandish excuses like this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 3:06pm

    Re: Yet another defense lawyer tactic

    That's not actually a defense attorney's job, unless his client actually is innocent. That doesn't mean there aren't lots of scummy defense attorneys who try to get their guilty client off, though.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
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    Sheogorath (profile), Jan 24th, 2014 @ 2:02am

    Imagine the scene...

    Defence lawyer: "Getting tased is a buzz!"
    Prosecutor: "Tell that to the 32-year-old woman who was tased."
    DL: "Where is she then?"
    P: "Karrakatta Cemetery."

     

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  38.  
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    Sunhawk (profile), Jan 24th, 2014 @ 3:16am

    Re: Re:

    Read through legal history and you will find that the bar started on the ground.


    That doesn't seem to be an obstacle for it lowering though...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 3:33am

    Re: shock therapy is fun

    A friend of mine died from legitimate medical shock therapy. In a tiny number of cases, shock therapy can cause problems with blood pressure or heartbeat regulation in the days following treatment, leading to death.

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    zena buddysgirl, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 9:31am

    Getting tased

    I would liked to get tazed in my pussy. It's so old it might just wake it up!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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