Federal Jury: Police Officers Did Not Use Excessive Force After Tasering Man 19 Times Leading To His Death

180px-m26_taserA federal jury in Tennessee ruled that three officers — Jason Creagan, Jonathan Mays and Jaime Scruggs — did not use excessive force in the death of Patrick Lee, 21, at a nightclub in 2005. Lee was tasered 19 times after he was seen acting strangely outside of a nightclub (ironically named the the Mercy Lounge) and allegedly resisted arrest.

Lee was high on LSD and naked at the time. He died two days later. Police said that Lee was sweaty, making it difficult to control him. They used batons and pepper spray as well. A video was viewed as supporting the family’s claim that the police acted improperly. At the time the video was discovered Nashville attorney Tommy Overton stated “[f]rom looking at the video for the first time, it looks more like a social event than trying to arrest somebody who was naked and unarmed. I look forward to allowing a jury of everyday citizens of this district to see what I consider is a disregard for human life.” More <a href="“>here. It does not appear that the jury was affected in the same way (a grand jury earlier rejected criminal charges, though some grand jurors expressed objections to the conduct of the police).

Lawsuits against Taser International by his parents, Bud Lee and Cindy Lundman, were dismissed earlier. For country music fans, Bud Lee co-wrote the Garth Brooks hit “Friends in Low Places.”

The Nashville case had some similarity to the case of Mace Hutchinson who was tasered 19 times and the Oliver case in Miami.

A coroner ruled that Lee was experiencing drug-induced excited delirium.

For the full story, click here and here.

62 thoughts on “Federal Jury: Police Officers Did Not Use Excessive Force After Tasering Man 19 Times Leading To His Death”

  1. Mein furer d’art
    In response to Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld on HBO urinating on a picture of Christ and F. Murray Abraham in AMADEUS putting a Crucifixion into the fire and the Brooklyn Museum showing a Crucifix in a jar of urine … I give you da Furer as the ‘kindly gentleman’ he was … in an oil painting portrait of him by the 71 year old
    Italian/Catholic fine artist ROSSI d’PROVIDENCE. Touche. The painting is for sale. $50,000.00. See info below.

    (Photo omitted because your email does not except them. It is a portrait of Hitler with a floral painting in the background. Call for it I will send it.)

    Rossi
    25 Chappell St. 20-A
    Seekonk Commons Housing for the Elderly and Disabled
    Seekonk, Massachusetts, 02771, USA
    508 336-6067

    The artist’s website:
    http://home.earthlink.net/~artistmaximus/ (3 pages of fine art)

    A list of the greatest living creative minds in all the world:
    http://home.earthlink.net/~artistmaximus/theworldsgreatestcreativeminds/

  2. Mike,

    No problem with any of that. I’d only like to add a sidebar to carry over on to the next time the topic comes up because I’d like to clarify that while the topic of nationalism in the atomic age came up in discussing Israel, my concerns are more in general than Israel specific – less about specific who than the about the fundamental change to the concept of nationhood in general.

    Good luck with your computer issue.

    BTW, stop apologizing for the tribal feelings. It’s those very feelings and the passion behind them combined with the well reasoned nature of your opinion on this thorny subject that make your posts by far the most valuable on all things Israel.

  3. Buddha:
    “That is perhaps due to the way I view time: the past remains there but should inform the present as the future is what we make of it. The present is all that really exists.”

    Carlyle:
    “Do not confuse what happened in the past with history. History is what people choose to write down and depends on what evidence survives.”

    Buddha, Carlyle,
    I agree with the premise of both your statements, but when talking of the past, I would assert that I am older than Israel and it has been a country of great interest to me, so I’ve closely followed its’ fortunes and history in the making.

    “Yes, like traditional colonies it displaces a sitting population, but it differs in that Israel was created not by one power as a subject, but by many powers to be a new sovereign power”

    This is the crux of our disagreement and I think it sums up both your viewpoints. From the Arab side this has been their contention all along. However, from the Israeli side (in this instance my side also), Israel was created by its’ own people. The Western powers were clearly influenced by the oil interests to prevent Israeli independence. Look at the actions, beginning in the early 30’s by the British to prevent Jews from escaping the Nazi’s and resettling there.

    While it is true that the UN vote approved Israel as a State,
    led by a very reluctant Truman, when the combined forces of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, etc. attacked it after Israel’s declaration of nationhood, there was not action to stop what was supposed to be a slaughter of the Israeli’s and “driving them into the sea.” All the Western nations banned arms sales to Israel both before and during that first war. Israel had to rely on obsolete weapons, smuggled in from Diaspora Jews predominately (I knew and know a few who took part)and faced state of the art equipped armies.

    Jordan’s Arab Legion, for instance was a modern, well equipped army, led by a British General. The Egyptian Army too was replete with modern weaponry supplied by Western nations. The defeat of the combined Arab armies was totally humiliating, especially by these Jews, who for 17 centuries were portrayed by both Christian and Arab myth as cowards and weaklings. That humiliation gave rise to the need for denial on the Arab side and the addition of the Western Nations as villains of the piece, since after all how else could our glorious armies be so badly beaten, by a ragtag group?

    The other tragedy that came out of this was that the attacking Arab States called on all Arabs in Palestine to flee, so as not to slow the advance of their conquering armies. Many did just that, others that took up arms were expelled (an infinitely smaller figure)and they fled to their brother Arab nations. In those nations they were segregated into Camps and kept in miserable conditions because it suited the Arabs propaganda purposes, to show them as people of oppression. Had they stayed, given the Socialist, non-sectarian government led by Ben-Gurion there might have been a different result.

    This is only a very brief description of how I’ve seen all this happening in my lifetime and I know both of you feel differently. We could debate this back and forth but to what end? All three of us are quite capable of a rhetorical standoff and while we might think we are presenting our points before an audience, I suspect that since this issue is quite off thread already the audience might be rather bored by our back and forth, point/counter-point.

    Carlyle:
    “I came across most of this argument a few days ago somewhere, so I don’t yet know how much credence to give it, but it is worth investigating further.”

    While Carlyle argued it, I also know Buddha subscribes to the living there 2,000 years ago, doesn’t justify their existence today. Guess what I agree with you? Those who support Israel based on that argument are either fools or fundamentalists (or both). My argument is simply they’re there, they’ve won four major wars and they are a nuclear power that doesn’t intend to be pushed off of their land.
    Perhaps it’s my tribe prejudice, but somehow I believe that Israel’s government and democracy (while I abhor Bibi), represents something more stable and more humane than N.Korea, Iran, Pakistan, Russia and even India. This speaks to Buddha’s question regarding nuclear arms and nationalism.

    I think nationalism and xenophobia represent the greatest problems of mankind. Out of these “lizard brain” mindsets comes all the other human vices, if you think about it.
    Genocide doesn’t require weapons of destruction to be effective and characteristic of humanity. This was true throughout all history and in the previous Century led to
    the Armenian Genocide, Hitler’s genocide, Stalin’s genocide, the various African Genocides and the Slavic genocide. One might look at the possibility of the US killing one million Iraqi’s and add that to the total.

    The nuclear age has only upped the ante somewhat and yet its’ destructiveness has been somewhat restrictive of its’ use, due to the consequences. The answer lies not in the stars, but in us(plagiarized of course)and the real question is how, or is it possible, for us to evolve into creatures not controlled by our most primitive brain processes? I don’t have the answer for that one and I suspect neither do either of you. Let’s let Israel lie for a bit until the next thread that brings it to the forefront. Please notice that I tried to couch what I’ve written above as merely my opinion, while recognizing that you two have come by your own opinions, honestly and inquiringly.

    I’ll be posting infrequently for the next few days since my Wife’s PC has gone down (not for the count I hope) and I have to share mine with her. She is more of a web surfer then me, so I’ll have to take the backseat for a bit. Our damn PC Tech had to go on vacation.

  4. Carlyle Moulton:

    It sounds like a reasonable theory to me considering geneticists believe we all descended from one female. They also think that if we go back 2000-4000 years we all have some common ancestors. So from this standpoint alone your theory sounds probable/possible.

    One big happy dysfunctional family, we humans.

  5. Larry,

    I’ll have to agree about the Australia issue, but I see it as far more analogous to the America/Native American story. My contention is that Israel, unlike the U.S. and Australia which both started out as traditional colonies at a time when colonialism ruled, is a kind of new creature under the sun. Yes, like traditional colonies it displaces a sitting population, but it differs in that Israel was created not by one power as a subject, but by many powers to be a new sovereign power – a homeland and state in it’s own right in response to the most vile war crimes in history. Not as unilateral economic ventures as colonies were but a politically and ethically required international response. As far as the regional genetics goes, there’s less than 7% variation across the entire species. We’re all related so insert “Dueling Banjos” here. As far as the regional demographics since the days of the Romans, I’d say 1) I require more proof and 2) it still changes nothing about how nationalism needs to be viewed differently in the atomic age. That being said, it seems the genetics argument for the region only backs up the idea that it’s home to both peoples.

  6. Mike, Buddah.

    Every colonial settler nation has a belief system that serves to justify its existence and explain why taking the land and property of the previous occupants was not a violation of the morality that its citizens pretend to believe in. These belief systems consist of sets of propositions that are contrary to the facts of what happened in the past. Do not confuse what happened in the past with history. History is what people choose to write down and depends on what evidence survives. To survive to be used by current day historians each piece of evidence must pass through the hand of generations of custodians and many of these will recognize it as implying that unkind things can be said about their nation, and who might think that preserving this evidence is not a good idea as it will only lead to unfair criticism of their saintly nation. Most people are more concerned that their nation not be criticized unfairly than about history books actually describing what happened in the past. I like the term “National Myths” for the self justifying belief systems that constitute much of the content of each nations orthodox history books, but arguably a better term is “National Lies”. The orthodox history books of any nation are collections of both statements that are in accord with the facts of what happened and ones that are not in accordance with the facts. But more important still are issues that must be kept out of the books completely.

    Until relevantly recently, the topic of what happened between white settlers in Australia and the indigenous peoples was such a taboo issue. Then some Australian historians the most prominent of them being Henry Reynolds began to examine these and what they discovered did not match the orthodox beliefs of white kindness to the unfortunate indigenes who were inevitably dying out because of shame at their own manifest inferiority in contrast to the magnificence of white civilization.

    Some time after the late nineteen sixties a bipartisan consensus arose in Australia that both political parties would avoid using the aboriginal race issue as way to win votes. However this consensus ended after George the Stupid’s little mate John Winston Howard led his coalition government to victory. He explicitly used hostility to aborigines among the white working class to trawl for votes from people whose interests were better served by the Labour Party. A vigorous debate arose in Australia over the “revisionist” history of white/black relations and John Howard and Australian wingnut adapted the term “black armband history” to refer to it and there was much use of the phrase “politically correct” to heap scorn on anyone who seemed to be arguing from an assumption that Australian Aborigines were human in a sense that entitled them to “human rights”.

    The racist right was very careful to avoid asking the question, “If someone treated us in the same manner as our predecessors treated the aborigines, would we consider it any one of legal, moral or right?”. Of course if one actually acknowledged the taboo facts from the past there can be no doubt of the answer, the rightists avoided this by denying that the taboo facts were in fact facts.

    The national myths of Australia and Israel are very similar, and are based on the proposition that the land taken up by each country was previously uninhabited, “Terra Nullius” or “A Land without a people for a people without a land”. Australia acknowledges that in the beginning a few aborigines did exist, but they were so few and they had no concept of land ownership, so there was no requirement to put any land aside for their use, not even reservations as in the US and Canada. Israel’s myth seems to go even further. 2000 years ago their were Jews living in Palestine, but the Romans expelled most of them and until the nineteenth century Palestine was an uninhabited desert except for the small minority of Jews left. Then Zionist settlement began, and the resulting economic improvements drew Arab migrants from the surrounding lands, hence the Palestinians. I must admit that my minds boggle meter burns out every time it is exposed to this line of argument.

    Fact, Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire for many hundreds of years, I don’t know how many because my history knowledge is not that good, (mainly consisting of dim memories of idiot Australian explorers dying in the desert where the aborigines lived amid plenty), and there are Ottoman census records showing a population of several hundreds of thousands for all that time, most of it Muslim but with about 30,000 Jews.

    I wonder if it is possible to get DNA from 2000 year old Jewish bones from Jerusalem cemeteries. Imagine an experiment involving comparing such samples with DNA from people in various parts of the modern world to find the closest living relatives. One might wonder where the closest relatives would be found today, my guess a Palestinian refugee camp would be a good place to start looking.

    Yes the Romans “ncouraged” some Jews to migrate elsewhere in the empire, but many remained, but in the sixth century Islam took over the Middle East and most Palestinian Jews converted to Islam, their descendants now think of themselves as Arabs because they blended into the surrounding Arab Muslim culture.

    On the other hand, in the time of the Empire, Judaism was a proselytising religion and many Gentiles were recruited into European Jewry. Yes European Jews will have some genes handed down from ancestors in 2000 year ago Palestine, but most of their blood is from Gentile ancestors. The irony is that todays Israelis are mainly European descended but a replacing Arabs who are much more closely related to the Jews of ancient Palestine.

    I came across most of this argument a few days ago somewhere, so I don’t yet know how much credence to give it but it is worth investigating further.

  7. Buddha,
    No apology needed, because I already knew how you felt and gosh darn it, I like you anyway. I must admit it is a tribal thing with me and my being Jewish sounds a very emotional chord deep inside me. you are entitled to believe as you do and to be honest in recent years the Israeli’s haven’t been great in the PR, or responsibility department.

    Think about how 9/11 scared the hell out of us in the USA and that was one incident. We’re looking at a whole lot of bad things done by bad people, in the name of keeping us safe. Imagine an entire history of seven decades with comparable stuff happening, seen of course from the Israeli perspective and you realize why people like Begin, Sharon and Bibi get elected. Does it piss me off that they could be so dumb, when we Jews are supposed to be smart, hell yes. On the other hand my children have spent significant time in Israel, with me and my wife worrying every single minute. To me this whole Israel miasma is very complex and its difficult to tell the good guys from the bad guys on all sides.

  8. Mike,

    We’ve had that discussion before and you know I think the displacement of the Native Americans leads to the same rationale that this should be the United Indian Nations is the same kind of flawed logic. That is perhaps due to the way I view time: the past remains there but should inform the present as the future is what we make of it. The present is all that really exists.

    You and I are not really that far apart based on previous discussions, but since I have certainly touched a nerve, I’ll be the first to apologize if the short version above offended you. That was not my intention. Perhaps I should have been more verbose or not resorted to Zionism as a blanket term – I know it’s more nuanced than that. My intention was merely to state that the foundational logic of situs of Israel was flawed if avoiding future conflict was a consideration especially when another, less risky but perhaps not as satisfying alternative (war reparations) existed at the time.

    Don’t forget, I missed having enough Blackfoot in me to get benefits by one generation. I am sympathetic to ancestral lands, but only if they don’t endanger regional, and in this case, global security.

    This touches upon something I hoped we get a chance to discuss sometime and that is how the concept of nationalism has been impacted by technology over time. There are threshold events in the development of technology and Oppenheimer’s little toys were one of them. Nuclear weapons made it possible for the first to to actually destroy the human world (the planet is another issue). If there were no nukes in the ME or anywhere else? I’d be more favorable to the ancestral homeland arguments, but since there are, we have to deal with it. Perhaps that was part of the bad reasoning going on at the U.N. is that in all honesty they, the politicians, were still creatures of the pre-atomic age. They were also arrogant as Hell in assuming that the West would forever be solely capable of their manufacture. It wasn’t until Hugh Everett (the brilliant physicist behind the many worlds theory) started working for the Pentagon at the Weapons System Evaluation Group on fallout studies in the 50’s that we even began to realize how incredibly dangerous these weapons are. Up to that point, our military was firmly convinced nuclear wars are winnable. They honestly believed that. We know now they are not and that even a limited nuclear war with a dozen or so strikes could screw up the ecosystem for a very long time.

    You know I don’t begrudge the Jews a homeland and in fact think it was a necessity both morally and politically after the Shoah. I just disagree about how they (being the U.N.) went about it. It was faulty logic used to a necessary end, but still faulty nonetheless.

    Again, sorry if offended.

  9. Buddha & Carlyle,
    When you two and all of your fellow white people move out of Kansas and Australia, respectively than perhaps we could talk. I won’t debate the history of Israel with either of you because I like you both and know for a fact that neither of you is a bigot. However, historically the reality of the founding of Israel is not quite the US backed imperialist thrust that you believe it to be. It might be a surprise to many but Israel won its’ independence, despite the UN and the US.

    Perhaps if you read a book like “From Time Immemorial” by Jean Peters, you might have cause to reconsider. I mean actually read the book by the way, not the critical articles that you are sure to find via Google.

    “That being said, the Jewish people do validly need a homeland. It just shouldn’t have been Palestine.”

    I’m sure that the Plains Indians and the Aborigines might well feel the same about the the poor whites who populated their area. The difference is that Jews have lived in Israel for many thousands of years. While its’ true that many of their brethren were scattered over the world by Rome, the Christians and Islam, there was a continuous presence. Now as far as those who call themselves “Palestinians,” which they didn’t until 1967 and a certain Saudi PR campaign. Most of them came to Palestine in the early 1920’s, lured by the beginning to boom economy the Jews had created.

    If you want to read about Israel in the 19th Century I suggest you see Mark Twain’s travel commentary, from the 1870’s. As you can tell you’ve touched a raw nerve with me and remember I disdain AIPAC and Likud. I have stated so quite emphatically on many occasions.

    I do not see a debate with you two as being of any use, because your minds are made up, as is mine. Besides as I’ve said I like you both and think you good people with good values. however, I will engage no further not out of worry, because I can hold my own, but because it would be point, counter point, with no hope of movement.

  10. Carlyle Moulton,

    You’ll get no argument from me that the way the U.N. went about creating the state of Israel was a bad idea from the onset. I’ve said in several threads/discussions that the only way that plan didn’t end in exactly the kind of mess we are in now is to have created Israel by claiming part of Germany as reparations. You can’t move a population into an area (historically theirs or not) that’s been inhabited by another population for hundreds (almost thousands) of years and not expect conflict. It was a bad idea made out of religious thinking (although I don’t just lay that bad logic at the feet of Zionism as others non-Jews were involved in the decision making) instead of pragmatic thinking. That being said, the Jewish people do validly need a homeland. It just shouldn’t have been Palestine.

  11. FFLeo:

    “About the edit, no need to bother with those, we all are aware of your exceptional intelligence.”

    *****************

    Then can you guys talk to my wife? She needs some convincing.

  12. Buddah.

    Israel and Bibi Netanyahu do not want peace with the Palestinians, what they do want are the remaining pieces of Palestine not yet annexed to Israel and covered with settlements.

    Continued settlement building keeps the Palestinians enraged and they resort to terrorism which justifies Israel refusing to talk with them while it steals more Palestinian land.

    The present poisonous relationship between Israel and the Palestinians is the inevitable consequence of the original Zionist decision to set up their nation in land already occupied by others who mistakenly thought it was theirs. The steady movement of Israeli attitudes to the right and towards greater hatred and contempt for the Palestinians is necessary. One cannot steal from someone if one does not consider that someone to be sub-human. The conquest of Israel is moving towards its final phase which involves either ethnic cleansing or genocide unless the rest of the world stops it and I do not believe that the rest of the world will stop a nuclear armed Israel from expelling or genociding the remaining Palestinians. I certainly don’t believe thatt the US will be an obstacle.

  13. I understand the Grand Jurors’ decision and your position.

    An officer must never treat a vehicle stop as routine, especially at night. By radioing his position, waiting for an NCIC check on the license plate—outstanding warrants, prior drug arrests, etc—and relaying the number of subjects in the vehicle, backup can start rolling immediately in the appropriate numbers.

    Radioing your position does several things besides the obvious. It gives time for the adrenalin of all parties to subside somewhat and to assess the situation. Also, once the officer exited his vehicle—I would have parked my cruiser in front of the subjects’ vehicle—having backup rolling means that if something goes sour then there is less time for a struggle to occur, both for the officer and then lessening the potential for abuse of the subject. Not radioing one’s position is completely irresponsible.

    I saw no exigent circumstances in this particular situation that called for the haste and lack of proper LEO procedures to be followed, initially. That put all parties—including innocent citizens and assisting officers speeding to the aid of an officer ‘already’ engaged in a physical struggle—at potential risk, and increased the tendencies for violence escalations. I would have been extremely concerned about the passenger in this situation and the officer was very lucky that night. In addition, this appears to be a very good, experienced officer who simply took some unacceptable shortcuts.

    About the edit, no need to bother with those, we all are aware of your exceptional intelligence.

  14. FFLeo:

    Of course, I defer to your training and experience, but how might an arresting officer know in advance what type of behavior he would likely encounter if he did not know the influencing drug beforehand? Would radioing in the information assist him in this on-the-scene analysis? Shouldn’t the officer have an effective nonlethal means available when confronted with a person not in control of his faculties and apparently impervious to pain? These are questions I would not want to answer on some cold, dark stretch of road at 2:00 am. I think the degree of violence matters in the resistance, and the escalating agitation of this suspect coupled with his obvious drug use would have caused me to vote “Not A True Bill,” had I sat on that Grand Jury. Call me fascist, I suppose. Reasonable men can differ, and I know you to be imminently reasonable.

  15. The Bobs,

    Net capture was one of the methods I was thinking about when I wrote earlier. When I was involved in law enforcement, that tool was unavailable; however, I spent many years assisting with net-gunning of wildlife from helicopters and I always thought that net-gunning violators would be a perfect non-lethal means of subduing them. The problems were the large rifles used, heavy gauge nets, the explosive charges, and the weights that could harm a person.

    I am glad some inventor came up with the “Super Talon Net Gun”, a very neat product that could be added to the duty belt, unless you had the waist size of a Barney Fife; however, many officers today are built on the Rush Limbaugh style of fat. Thanks for the link.

  16. Something like this Net Gun would be a more effective and far safer way to control people. No doubt it isn’t nearly as much fun as torturing suspects with tasers and sticks.

  17. Bob, Esq.

    How are the plans for the surreptitious trip in late October progressing? Madam Speaker and Lord Assistant Justice having affirmed their availability leaves only Ida’s relative in the wheel chair to confirm. What a walk through the state of nature could do for a nation.

    Oh scratch the above, reason and the cause of truth must prevail!

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