Shock Video: Minneapolis Officer Tasers Man in Neck While His Hands Are on Hood of the Car

In a highly disturbing video, Minneapolis police officers are shown tasering a man who is clearly shown with his hands on the hood of a car and not resisting arrest. Rolando Ruiz is seen and heard screaming in pain from the taser, which is applied to the back of his neck and held to his body as he falls to the street.

The Minneapolis Police Department has been previously sued for such abuse caught on videotape.

Remarkably, Ruiz is asking only for $75,000 and discipline against the officer for violating his civil rights. That is a bargain basement price for the city, which should settle this case in a nanosecond.

I cannot imagine what could justify such an assault once the suspect is yielding in this fashion. Even if Ruiz was previously uncooperative, he is clearly not threatening the officer at the time of the tasering. What is particularly striking is not just the apparent submissive posture of the suspect but the cavalier attitude of the officer on the video. This comes on the same week that we posted other stories of the troubling use of tasers, here and here.

Here is some of the coverage of the tape from the station that first revealed the story:


For the video, click here

Unless there is an extraordinary untold story here, there is obvious grounds from not just tort liability but possible charges against the officer.

For the story and another video link, click here

46 thoughts on “Shock Video: Minneapolis Officer Tasers Man in Neck While His Hands Are on Hood of the Car”

  1. Here’s some things I expect to see as these abuses continue:

    As these tactics by officers spread, more and more common criminals (and just everyday speeders) will feel compelled to take stronger measures to evade police.

    While these reactions may have been dismissed as paranoia or mental instability in the past it will become clear that many of these individuals are everyday people who simply have a heightened fear of law enforcement.

    Ultimately police abuses will lead to vigilante actions against officers, both at the point of contact and as planned retribution by individuals against unpunished officers.

    Government will continue to anonymize officers and new weapons technologies will move to everyday deployment. I expect this to include sonic weapons (as seen in Pittsburgh), green lasers that temporarily blind, and the thermal laser gun. These new weapons will raise fears further, and they too will be widely abused over time.

    If society fails to manage misconduct by police, eventually I would expect to see cases sufficiently outrageous to be a catalyst for organization of small groups willing to use violence against rogue officers.

    Over time, the collective failure of prosecutors to pursue police abuses could become a significant factor in destabilizing society.

  2. CCD – My thanks for your comment. It’s hard not to get exasperated as these crimes continue unchecked and in fact continue to escalate.

    Vic – Can you see an action that “led up” to this assault that would justify the officer’s actions?

  3. Uh, where is the rest of the video? The defense released what they wanted you to see, but what about the rest? What led up to this incident?

  4. This officer should be fired. But first they should taser him in the neck. The victim was not doing anything that should have resulted in him being tasered. Police Brutality at its finest. I bet the officer was short and small, and enjoys the thrill of acting like a big man. Disgusting.

  5. Apology? Fired? Bah. This appears to be a criminal action and should be prosecuted as such. Federal Civil Rights peanalties should just be “icing on the cake.” Not only does the officer appear to tase Mr. Ruiz while he is compliant, the officer continues to inflict pain on Mr. Ruiz after he is down and totally incapacitated. I can’t come up with any explanation for the action other than that the officer appears to want to torture Mr. Ruiz.

    Growing up as a kid in the city of Chicago, we had a pretty clear understanding that a large portion of police officers (not all) engaged in this type of assault on suspects. Before the convenience of tasers, it was billy clubs, fists, boots and sometimes more creative implements. This fundamentally shattered any idea of “trusting” police officers – that they would act responsibly when issuing orders to citizens, that you should simply comply with their orders. You did what officers ordered not out of trust, but out of fear of their violence. That may be fine in Iran or Russia, but it’s nuts in America.

  6. E-mail response:

    Last night Chief Tim Dolan released the following statement regarding the incident to which you refer:

    The Minneapolis Police Department finds the recent video regarding the use of a Taser very disturbing. As a result, we have asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation to review the case for possible civil rights violations. The Minneapolis City Attorney will also review for possible criminal charges. Lt. Glampe of the Minneapolis Internal Affairs will be coordinating the reviews.

    Minneapolis Police training and policies related to use of force and Tasers are based upon national best practices and standards. We take any violations of those policies very seriously.

    If you have other concerns please feel free to contact me. By state law we cannot comment beyond the above statement however.

    Sgt. William J. Palmer
    Minneapolis Police Department
    Public Information Officer
    350 South 5th Street Room 130
    Minneapolis, Mn 55415
    direct 612-673-2896 cell 612-919-9362 fax 612-673-2613
    william.palmer@ci.minneapolis.mn.us
    police-pio@ci.minneapolis.mn.us

  7. there isn’t a person alive who sees this video that would voluntarily subject themselves peacefully into the custody of a law enforcement officer knowing that this could happen to them.

  8. puzzling:

    You’re absolutely right on all counts! After poking around a bit looking at settlements to people who have been tasered it’s an acceptable cost of doing business. The government’s insurance company’s routinely settle rather than risk going to trial.

    My erroneous thought (won’t be my last) was that with shrinking budgets governments would manage differently.

    Prosecutors are not interested in pursuing even the most obvious crimes by police.–puzzling

    Evan when wrongful death cases (excited delirium ≠ taser use) are settled, the police department maintained that officers followed procedure in the incident.

    puzzling thanks again for corralling the facts and stating them so succinctly.

  9. B-man,

    Should that read “should be [fried]”? After all, you are proposing to taze him.

  10. Sadly, our concept of “highly disturbing” continues to shift as we are numbed by the volume and range of these cases.

    The Taser is becoming a socially accepted extra-judicial punishment. Whether or not these cases settle for $75K or $1M matters very little. The evidence for acceptance by society is the unchecked growth in these abuses. Let’s face it: torture by law enforcement officers is perpetrated daily in plain view of cameras. Cases that should outrage the public simply do not.

    Although many municipalities just settle with our tax dollars I see very few real consequences for the agents of the government who perpetrate the acts themselves. Department policies on use of force are rarely tightened. Internal investigations consistently vindicate officers. Prosecutors are not interested in pursuing even the most obvious crimes by police.

    I see little hope that this force drift reverses. If anything, I expect it to get far worse as our paramilitarized police continue to push the envelope with new weapons and ever broader application of extreme force.

  11. Cities and municipalities managing police forces should realize these taser rides are not worth it, in terms of dollars paid to settle claims.

    In the mean time:

    Timothy Dolan
    Chief of Police
    350 South 5th Street
    Room 130
    Minneapolis, MN 55415-1389
    (612) 673-3787

    E-mail: police@ci.minneapolis.mn.us

    Tip Line at (612) 692-TIPS (8477)

    HN County Attorney/Victim Assistance …(612) 348-4003

  12. Watch the clock. That’s at least 13 seconds of taser to the neck. Thirteen seconds is a lot. It’s a whole ‘nother dimension of “excessive”.

    I believe that Mr. Ruiz and his lawyer have made a huge mistake. $75,000 is low ball, unless Mr. Ruiz was doing something entirely evil (on the scale of eating children, or just killed several officers) just before the video starts.

    Another incident was just settled for $100,000:

    http://excited-delirium.blogspot.com/2009/11/kaching-100000-settlement-for-police.html

    I’d say that the $75,000 must include an explicit apology. If they refuse to admit it was a mistake, then slide the decimal point one place to the right. Those agreements of “no admission of liability or error” should cost a fortune.

    That officer should be fired.

  13. is it possible for a civil class action suit against Taser Inc.? I ask because there is a great deal of evidence that their product is being used in abusive ways. They know the evidence as well as the next person, yet they continue to sell their products to police forces who regularly misuse them. Aren’t they responsible for ceasing to sell their weapons to forces that repeatedly misuse them?

  14. That is an amazing video. Time for Minneapolis to open their pockets because that is an obvious assault by this officer. I would hope that the prosecutors will do the right thing and bring charges against this officer and kick him off of the police force.

Comments are closed.