Sixth Circuit Judge writes blistering condemnation of majority decision giving immunity to jailer who repeatedly tased epileptic
Reading what happened to the Plaintiff in Shreve v. Franklin County is enough to make someone violently ill. An epileptic, Shreve suffered a seizure on the public sidewalk; while disoriented, public service officers attempt to handcuff him. He resisted, and was arrested and charged criminally. The judge found him not guilty of resisting arrest because he lacked the mental capacity to comply or resist at the time. Nevertheless, the judge involuntarily committed him to a behavioral health facility for evaluation. That facility was over-croweded, so he remained in the Franklin County Corrections Center awaiting a bed at the treatment center.
Shreve suffered another seizure in the jail and officers who observed it responded to his cell. Despite their knowledge of his condition and video tape evidence directly establishing that he was disoriented, confused and unable to respond properly to instructions, the jailers "tazed" him while he was sitting "dazed" in the "surrender" position. Although non-compliant, he was clearly not resisting or assaultive, according to the dissenting judge's opinion. As is typical post-seizure, he was simply incapable of responding to instruction and was begging groggily "please, please, please" and staring blankly.
Although the officers could have 'cuffed Shreve with his hands in front of him, they chose not to, and instead attempted to force his partially 'cuffed hands behind his back. When he didn't comply, he was tazed again. After being taken to a hospital for treatment and handcuffed to the bed, he was tazed yet again--for appearing to attempt to lunge out of the bed to which he was 'cuffed.
Two of the Sixth Circuit's judges, Boggs and Gilman, ruled that the jail officers were immune from any liability for repeatedly tazing Shreve and causing numerous facial lacerations. The dissenting judge, Judge Clay, wrote a blistering dissent taking to task the majority's conclusion that no jury could find that the officers acted unreasonably, given the video evidence that contradicted their own account of their actions and indisputably established behavior that could reasonably establish civil liability.