The Press Democrat
January 11, 2010

Police may have new reason to pause before using a stun gun to subdue a suspect after an appeals court ruled an officer in San Diego County can be sued for shooting an unarmed man with a Taser during a traffic stop.

Police must believe a suspect poses an “immediate threat” to officers or the public before they shoot a suspect with a stun gun, according to a decision by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

[efoods]”This decision muddies the water a little bit,” said Capt. Matt McCaffrey of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department. “Case law so far had made things clear for use of force, but didn’t talk specifically about certain weapons. I won’t be surprised if this goes up to a higher court and is overturned.”

McCaffrey and other local law enforcement officials said they don’t expect the ruling to immediately change current training regimens on stun gun use, even if the decision stands.


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