Thursday, September 18, 2008

11th Circuit Taser Video Posted on YouTube



R. Robin McDonald
09-18-2008
When Judge Beverly B. Martin this month dissented to a federal appeals decision in favor of a sheriff's deputy accused of civil rights violations for using a Taser on a handcuffed man, she urged that a video of the events in question be published with the opinion.
The suggestion of Martin, a district court judge sitting by designation with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, went unheeded. But James V. Cook, the Tallahassee, Fla., attorney representing plaintiff Jesse Daniel Buckley, apparently took Martin at her word.
On Monday Cook placed a copy of a video shot by a squad car camera on YouTube. The six-minute video can be found under the term "Buckley v. Haddock." Cook said Tuesday he is preparing a motion for an en banc rehearing.
The video shows how Florida sheriff's deputy Jonathan Rackard three times used a Taser on Buckley, who had been stopped for speeding and then refused to sign the traffic citation. Buckley is handcuffed, sobbing and sitting cross-legged on the ground. Each Taser jolt administered a five-second, 50,000-volt electric shock, according to the 11th Circuit decision.
In the majority opinion, Chief Judge J.L. Edmondson found that Rackard's actions were "not outside the range of reasonable conduct under the Fourth Amendment." Judge Joel F. Dubina concurred, although he wrote separately that Rackard's third use of the Taser against Buckley was unconstitutional.
Martin disagreed, writing "that the Fourth Amendment forbids an officer from discharging repeated bursts of electricity into an already handcuffed misdemeanant -- who is sitting still beside a rural road and unwilling to move -- simply to goad him into standing up."

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense attorney in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court. To learn more about Brian and his firm, Tannebaum Weiss, please visit www.tannebaumweiss.com