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.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.
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.
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.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.
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 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.