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Police Beating Caught on Tape

July 11, 2011

Police Beating Caught on Tape

David Raybin, a prominent member of Hollins, Raybin and Weissman, will be handling the civil rights lawsuit of a man critically beaten by members of the Humphreys County Sheriff’s Department. Darrin Ring, 35, alleges the use of excessive force by law enforcement officials during a response to a shot fired call. A camera on one of the officer’s dashboard recorded the entire incident. The video reveals four officers repetitively punching and kicking Ring, as he lay half naked on the ground, striking him with police batons, and even shocking him with a Taser. Ring’s ribs were fractured, one of his lungs punctured, and his body covered with bruises and other signs of attack.
With over 600 arrest-related deaths reported each year in the U.S. and an estimated 1 million incidents requiring police officers to use/threaten to use force, it is clear law enforcement officers must take every step to protect themselves and others. Electronic control weapons (ECWs), such as Tasers, are now commonly carried by officers and are regarded as a non-deadly alternative use of force. A recent study by the National Institute of Justice concluded that when used properly, the risk of death in an ECW related event is less than 1%.
However, the use of ECWs is not risk free and can result in serious injury or death. While it remains unclear what the causation factors are, there are multiple elements that appear closely linked to ECW fatalities. Factors such as: repeated and multiple shocks, shocking that last for longer than 15 seconds (cumulative or consecutive), and the concurrent use of more than one ECW. Moreover, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) released the Electronic Control Weapon Guidelines in 2011, in which they concluded that ECWs should not be used on suspects in handcuffs unless absolutely necessary to prevent them from causing serious bodily injury to themselves or others and if lesser methods of control have been unsuccessful. Likewise, COPS recommended that regardless of the duration of exposure, the medical condition of an individual exposed to an ECW should be constantly monitored during and after contact.
Furthermore, the International Association of Chiefs of Police published a “Model Policy,” in April 2010, in an effort to provide officers with suggestions for the proper use ECWs. They state it is forbidden to use ECWs in a disciplinary or coercive manner or on a handcuffed/secured prisoner, unless the prisoner is overtly assaultive and cannot be reasonably dealt with in any other less intrusive fashion. Additionally, they state that officers should be aware that during or immediately following exposure, a subject may be unable to respond to commands.
It is likely that such publications will be taken into consideration upon reviewing the case. For now, the officers under investigation have not been suspended and Ring remains in jail in lieu of bond. He is charged with resisting arrest and three counts of aggravated assault on an officer. Meanwhile, Jake Lockert has been retained as Ring’s public defender and has filed a motion to dismiss all charges. A Humphreys County judge will announce a decision in the upcoming weeks. Additionally, Lockert forwarded the video to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and they have announced their investigation into the event.
Lawsuit considered in deputy beating of suspect
Posted By: Eston Whiteside