Taser Malfunction

Brian Zeiger

When there is a taser malfunction, what happens and what are difference types of taser malfunctions?

A taser malfunction can happen in two ways. First the taser can fail to charge, so the officer believes that he is about to taser someone, but when they fire the taser, there is little or no electricity shooting through the prongs and the person is actually not tased at all. The second type of taser malfunction is when the taser keeps pulsing electricity into the person even though the officer is not trying to keep the electricity flowing through to the person. In this example the person is usually severely injured–even death.

In the second taser malfunction example, there are three possible legal claims unique to taser cases. First is the obvious police brutality or excessive force type of case. In that case, we are arguing the amount of force used is excess of the amount of force a reasonable officer would use faced with a similar amount of force in a similar circumstance.

The next cause of action is a Monell Claim against the city for not having tasers that function properly. The argument is that the city did not follow the proper protocol for managing the tasers before they were given to officers and taken out on the street. The tasers were not properly inspected, maintained, charged, etc., thereby causing the malfunction. The Monell Claim would be that the city failed to train and supervise the the maintenance of the taser inventory.

The third cause of action would be against TASER itself as a company. In this case, you would be arguing more like a products liability case then a civil rights case, but no matter. We would sue TASER for this claim and argue this model of taser was improperly manufactured, designed, etc., and that TASER knew or should have know the likely outcome that someone could get significantly injured as a result of the defect.

Brian J Zeiger, ESQ. –

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