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Davian93
09-01-2010, 10:58 AM
Link (http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local/north_bay&id=7639987)

I mean, personally, I think its ridiculous that police officers seemingly have the authority to take someone into custody in this type of scenario (possible suicidal tendencies...at least in their mind) but this is ridiculously over the top. If true, the officers involved need to be fired and find a new line of work.


Man sues Marin sheriff after being Tased at home

MARIN COUNTY, CA (KGO) -- A Marin County man has filed suit against the Marin County Sheriff's Department for an incident in which he says law enforcement officers went too far. Peter McFarland was Tased inside his own home as his wife watched, begging officers to stop.


On June 29, 2009 McFarland and his wife Pearl were returning home from a charity fundraiser just before midnight. McFarland injured himself as he stumbled and fell down the long steps to his front door.

"Mainly it was to my knee and the front of my leg, my shin," McFarland said.


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His wife called paramedics, who helped him into the house and treated him. As the paramedics were leaving, two sheriff's deputies arrived.

"All of a sudden, they just showed up, they came in here like there was a fire going on, like a gunfight was going on," McFarland said.

What happened in the following minutes was captured on a camera mounted on the deputy's Taser.

The deputy tells McFarland he is going to take him to the hospital because he may be suicidal.

"We want to take you to the hospital for an evaluation, you said if you had a gun, you'd shoot yourself in the head," the deputy can be heard saying.

McFarland says it was just hyperbole. He was tired and in pain.

The deputy orders him numerous times to get up or else.

"Stand up, put your hands behind your back or you're going to be Tased," the deputy says.

McFarland keeps refusing.

The exchange goes on for about five minutes; his wife keeps pleading with the deputies not to Tase him, saying he has a heart condition.

Then, McFarland tells the deputies in no uncertain terms to leave.

As he gets up to go to bed, McFarland is Tased. Not once, but three times.

"There's got to be a problem in terms of training and on supervising deputy sheriffs in the county; it's hard to imagine something so shocking could happen," McFarland's attorney John Scott said.

McFarland says he never had any suicidal thoughts. In fact, he considers himself lucky to be alive.

"I'm a survivor of pancreatic cancer; one of 4 percent in this country," McFarland said.

Scott says his client was arrested, jailed and charged with resisting arrest. A judge later dismissed the charge.

Scott says the deputies had no search warrant or legal reason to enter McFarland's home and even if they thought he was drunk and suicidal, Scott says the Tasing was excessive force.

ABC7's calls to the Marin County Sheriff's Department were not returned.

Ivhon
09-01-2010, 11:11 AM
*shakes head*

This...and someone at my agency had to call 911 for someone who actually WAS suicidal...WANTED help - and the cops were rude, dismissive and wouldnt take her to the clinic.

Davian93
09-01-2010, 11:17 AM
*shakes head*

This...and someone at my agency had to call 911 for someone who actually WAS suicidal...WANTED help - and the cops were rude, dismissive and wouldnt take her to the clinic.

The sick thing is that they could have easily killed him with a taser. They should be suspended and then fired if this is an accurate summary of what happened. There are alot of good cops out there trying to do the right thing and then there is a handful of idiots like this that love to abuse their authority.

GonzoTheGreat
09-01-2010, 11:18 AM
Out of curiosity: was this guy really arrested only for resisting arrest?

If not, then either there was some other ground for arrest which wasn't mentioned, or police officers may arrest people in their own homes without any reason at all, and then use force if they are ordered to leave the house.

Davian93
09-01-2010, 11:24 AM
Out of curiosity: was this guy really arrested only for resisting arrest?

If not, then either there was some other ground for arrest which wasn't mentioned, or police officers may arrest people in their own homes without any reason at all, and then use force if they are ordered to leave the house.

An officer of the law can do all sorts of crazy things...if you'll notice, the Judge dismissed all charges so the arrest was clearly complete BS.

StrangePackage
09-01-2010, 11:26 AM
Somebody's getting fired.

Davian93
09-01-2010, 11:31 AM
Somebody's getting fired.

I'd be shocked if they weren't at this point.

Ivhon
09-01-2010, 11:33 AM
I'd be shocked if they weren't at this point.

Particularly since it can be inferred that the injured party has both resources and connections.

Davian93
09-01-2010, 11:42 AM
The really cool thing in a situation like this with a BS arrest:

When he (or someone in a similar situation) applies for a job, his prospective employer will pull his criminal record and it will likely read:

08/2010: Arrested for Disturbing the Peace, Resisting Arrest, etc

Disposition: Unknown or Pending


Courts and police depts are horrible at "updating" their records so this type of crap just sits on there until the guy either forces them to update it or gets it expunged. It might not keep him from a job but it will be just another thing he has to explain on the "Were you ever arrested" question. And a good many HR people will think "Sure you didnt do anything...I bet they simply just didnt have enough evidence but you're still guilty!!!"

Sei'taer
09-01-2010, 12:17 PM
Y'know, it all boils down to moral narcissism.

The cops wanted to make themselves look good by helping this poor, hurt, suicidal man. They stepped in, and in their high-handed zeal, made the situation almost as bad as it could have been...all so they could make a name for themselves as caring lovable policemen. Now, they just look like unemployed idiots.

See, you can make moral narcissism go well on so many levels.

GonzoTheGreat
09-01-2010, 12:21 PM
This still doesn't answer my question, though: can cops really give "resisting arrest" as only actual reason for arresting someone?
After all, it would seem to me that if they didn't bother arresting someone in the first place, then the perp wouldn't be resisting that arrest either, so then there would be no need for an arrest. But I am not a lawyer, so I may be overlooking something here.

Ivhon
09-01-2010, 12:32 PM
This still doesn't answer my question, though: can cops really give "resisting arrest" as only actual reason for arresting someone?
After all, it would seem to me that if they didn't bother arresting someone in the first place, then the perp wouldn't be resisting that arrest either, so then there would be no need for an arrest. But I am not a lawyer, so I may be overlooking something here.

It boils down to when you are obligated to obey direct orders from a policeman. If the cop thinks you are under such obligation (which is probably all the time) and you do not comply (within 20 seconds) then you are resisting arrest.

Or something like that.

Sinistrum
09-01-2010, 01:28 PM
This still doesn't answer my question, though: can cops really give "resisting arrest" as only actual reason for arresting someone?
After all, it would seem to me that if they didn't bother arresting someone in the first place, then the perp wouldn't be resisting that arrest either, so then there would be no need for an arrest. But I am not a lawyer, so I may be overlooking something here.

Yes they can, but most "resisting arrest" statutes also are a lot more broad than you are interpreting. They typically include language such as "or detention" (as is the case in Texas). That part brings into it things such as investigative detentions that don't rise to the level of arrest, community care taking functions such as suicide prevention, and traffic stops. However, this incident still wouldn't rise to the level of resisting (once again, at least not in Texas) because the perp involved must use active force of some kind against the officers in order for it to count as resisting. Bottom line is that these cops screwed the pooch big time and will probably pay for it with their jobs.

nameless
09-01-2010, 03:51 PM
My 2 cents:
1) at least the cops had the sense to use tasers when dealing with someone they suspected of being suicidal. At least a few times a year you read about someone calling 911 to get help for a mentally disturbed loved one and the responding officers come in with their pistols drawn, like they'd never even heard of suicide by cop before.
2) in many areas less-than-lethal weapons are still classified as "compliance weapons." The very idea of a compliance weapon is so incredibly outrageous that I can't believe any court would ever allow it. Those tasers aren't there to make people do as they're told. They're there to enable to officers to protect themselves and their communities without having to kill anyone. Any police officer who tases someone for talking back or disobeying orders or anything other than presenting an immediate threat should be fired immediately, and then tased for good measure.

Davian93
09-02-2010, 07:03 AM
1) at least the cops had the sense to use tasers when dealing with someone they suspected of being suicidal. At least a few times a year you read about someone calling 911 to get help for a mentally disturbed loved one and the responding officers come in with their pistols drawn, like they'd never even heard of suicide by cop before.

Dude, they tased an elderly guy in his home after he refused to go to the hospital. He wasnt acting up, he wasn't threatening anyone...he made a joke to a paramedic because his leg hurt. The same kind of joke many of us make all the time. They should both be fired.

GonzoTheGreat
09-02-2010, 07:13 AM
Dude, they tased an elderly guy in his home after he refused to go to the hospital. He wasnt acting up, he wasn't threatening anyone...he made a joke to a paramedic because his leg hurt. The same kind of joke many of us make all the time. They should both be fired.Alternatively, you could all just stop making jokes.
There are people who don't get them, and firing them for their disability would be discrimination.

Basel Gill
09-02-2010, 09:21 AM
Stupidity run amok. *shaking head*

Brita
09-02-2010, 09:34 AM
Who called the police? The paramedics? Who reported to the police that he made a remark about shooting himself in the head?

I am not in any way diminishing the incompetency of the police to properly assess the situation and take appropriate measures (as opposed to draconian measures), but something about the man was disturbing enough for someone to call the police....

DahLliA
09-02-2010, 09:50 AM
woah. so if I lived in the US I'd be tased by the cops everytime I was hungover? that could get tedious :p

GonzoTheGreat
09-02-2010, 10:45 AM
Perhaps they'd called 9/11, and police was automatically send over too. Then, when the cops were strolling through the door, they heard the remark, and they decided that their medical expertise was obviously so superior to that of the paramedics, that they could take the decision to haul him off to the hospital on their own.

Which, of course, brings up the next question: if the paramedics had decided this guy needed to go to the hospital, and the cops had vetoed that, then who would have been legally correct?
Would the police officers have been allowed to use their tasers to prevent the medics from taking this 'patient' out of his house, if the 'patient' was willing to go?

Brita
09-02-2010, 12:29 PM
Perhaps they'd called 9/11, and police was automatically send over too. Then, when the cops were strolling through the door, they heard the remark, and they decided that their medical expertise was obviously so superior to that of the paramedics, that they could take the decision to haul him off to the hospital on their own.


Yep, you could be right.

nameless
09-02-2010, 04:11 PM
Dude, they tased an elderly guy in his home after he refused to go to the hospital. He wasnt acting up, he wasn't threatening anyone...he made a joke to a paramedic because his leg hurt. The same kind of joke many of us make all the time. They should both be fired.

Yes, and that was my point #2, but there are enough cases like this that end in dead bodies that I thought it worth pointing out that these two, however horribly incompetent, are still slightly ahead of their colleagues who think it's a good idea to point lethal weapons at suicidal people. Officers who allow themselves to be used as a tool for suicide are rarely disciplined (and in all fairness it's pretty damn traumatic for them, but still, if the guy tells you he wants to die and you point a gun at him, he's probably gonna find a way to make you pull the trigger, which is why tasers were invented in the first place).