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Archive for the ‘torts’ Category

It was only a matter of time:

An attorney representing a 19-year-old Chinese college student who was shocked in his apartment by a Eugene police officer’s Taser stun gun has formally notified city officials that the teen and his roommate will file a civil rights lawsuit in the controversial case.

If I was Pete Kerns, I’d be pushing the city to settle this as quickly and quietly as possible.

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Well, duh.

In a unanimous vote, the seven-member Eugene Civilian Review Board said Warden was wrong in using a Taser on the Chinese student, who had been mistakenly identified as a trespasser in his own apartment.

… the board majority said the board has the authority under the city charter to call for a new investigation.

Of course the police don’t need to respond to that call. And they won’t. But now everyone can say they’ve done their part, and there won’t be any need for embarrassment when they bump into each other over dinner at Chili’s in the Valley River Mall.

That is, until the inevitable lawsuit gets filed.

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As a refresher, these cops forced their way into the bedroom of an apartment, one of the cops tripped over his own clumsy feet, and so he tasered the tenant who was in lawful possession. The tenant is a skinny non-english-speaking UO student. Just a kid, basically. And the kid was considering filing suit against the police for reasons I think should be fairly obvious.

I guess I’ve missed a couple of updates on this one:

Soon after learning about the incident in September, Eugene’s police auditor, Mark Gissiner, opened a complaint case, interviewed two Chinese students through a translator and twice visited their apartment.

As auditor, Gissiner also monitored the police department’s investigation into the matter. Last month, Gissiner disagreed with Kerns, saying Warden fired the Taser inappropriately.

Yet much like the civilian review board, Gissiner has no say in deciding officer discipline.

I’m shocked, shocked that an internal police investigation found no problems with this officer’s conduct. But if they did nothing wrong… why did they apologize?

Mayor Kitty Piercy apologized to the Chinese students.

Maybe I need to get my hearing checked, but that sounds like “large cash settlement” to me.

And in other news on the same page, the dirty hippies and skateboard derelicts who loiter outside the library are going to have to find somewhere else to give themselves lung cancer. I for one say huzzah.

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Two kids try to rob a house. One of them pulls a gun on the resident, who happens to be packing heat himself:

the occupant of the home, whose name he did not release, is not being charged with wrongdoing. Mississippi’s “Castle Doctrine” law allows persons to use deadly force to stop an intruder into their home.

And there you go. They caught the other kid, because he called 911 to report the shooting (!). My question is- does the kid who got caught get charged with the murder of his accomplice?

Mississippi’s felony murder rule § 97-3-27 says:

The killing of a human being without malice, by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another, while such other is engaged in the perpetration of any felony, except those felonies enumerated in Section 97-3-19(2)(e) and (f), or while such other is attempting to commit any felony besides such as are above enumerated and excepted, shall be manslaughter.

it seems to me that this rule requires that for 97-3-27 liability to attach, the person directly responsible for causing death must be involved in the felony. Here, since the resident wasn’t a perpetrator, no felony murder charges should be possible against the guy who called 911.

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It’s unclear from this article whether the shooter called the police before or after he shot the guy in his backyard:

The homeowner opened the back door, confronted the suspect in his backyard and shot him with a shotgun.

Police wouldn’t release the homeowner’s name, but neighbors said he is a Texas Tech graduate student.

Authorities didn’t anticipate any charges against him.

“A person does have a right to defend his house,” Barron said, noting Texas law allows homeowners to shoot people trying to burglarize their homes.

No charges expected.

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Tazers in Eugene

The really choice fact missing from this article is: it was the same officer who tazered the protester last year.

A Chinese college student shocked by a Eugene police officer’s Taser stun gun a few hours after the student moved into his new apartment has contacted attorneys to represent him in the case.

The male student, a Chinese citizen who began attending language training classes last month at the University of Oregon, was confronted Sept. 22 inside his West 11th Avenue rental townhouse by police officers who thought he and his roommate were trespassing.

During the encounter, one of the officers used a Taser to subdue the student, who does not speak English.

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The intruders were allegedly trying to steal marijuana that the homeowner was growing:

Lt. Gary Trupe, coordinator for the Potter-Randall Special Crimes Unit, said Monday that the home was targeted because of marijuana plants that were being grown there.

Arcay and the roommate are now wanted by police for possession of 25 to 35 marijuana plants. The charges against Arcay and his roommate, possession of marijuana in a drug-free zone, are state felonies.

“The suspects targeted this house and the occupants repeatedly to steal marijuana they knew was in the house,” Trupe said. “We still feel, though, whatever was going on in that house, the occupants were justified in the force they used.”

I don’t want to open debate about the propriety of marijuana criminalization laws.  But there is an idea that has lived on from the principles of courts of equity which I think might have some application here.  (more…)

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