We previously followed the case of Gerald Amidon, who sued the Boise police department for allegedly threatening to sodomize him with a taser and using excessive force in his arrest, including tasering him on the buttocks. He has now settled for only $150,000 and, despite a highly disturbing tape of the incident, the police department is able to claim no fault as part of the settlement.
While against policy, the police insisted that the officer (who also threatened to shock his genitalia) merely failed to follow guidelines — the name of the officer has not been released despite the release of the audio tape below. The officer actually states on the tape that he had already sodomized Amidon with the taser when he threatened to deliver a second shock first to his anus and then to his genitalia.
Amidon stated that on February 14th he did not realize that the men forcing their way into his apartment were officers. He tried to block the door — resulting in three officers throwing him to the ground. After tasering him, the officer threatened to sodomize the man and deliver an anal shocking with his taser.
Here is the exchange:
Officer #3: Do you feel this?
Complainant: Yes, sir.
Officer #3: Do you feel that? That’s my –
Officer #3: -Taser up your ass.
Officer #3: So don’t move.
Complainant: I’m trying not to. I can’t breathe.
Officer #3: Now do you feel this in your balls?
Complainant: I do, sir. I’m not going to move. I’m not gonna move.
Officer #3 Now I’m gonna tase your balls if you move again.
A minute later, this exchange occurred:
Officer #3: Okay, I’m gonna take this Taser out of your asshole now. Are you going to fight with me?
Complainant: No, not at all, sir.
A supervisor later erased an audio recording of an interview with the man at the jail and did not write a report on the use of force in the arrest. While the officers have been “disciplined,” they were not removed from the force.
Boise Community Ombudsman Pierce Murphy found that the actions of the officer were not illegal but found abuse, here. You have an officer who says that he just sodomized a suspect and threatened to torture him. That is not unlawful in Boise?
In the internal investigation , here. Murphy found that there was no threat at the time of the incident:
“At the time that he was Tased on the buttocks, the Complainant was handcuffed and lying face-down on the floor. Officer #1 was holding the Complainant’s head and upper torso down with a knee across his shoulders. Officer #4 was positioned near the Complainant’s waist preparing to search the Complainant, and Officer #3 was situated near the Complainant’s legs and feet … Based on what he observed, Officer #2 saw no need to assist Officer #1, Officer #3, and Officer #4 in controlling the Complainant. According to Officer #1, the Complainant “mellowed out” after being handcuffed.”
He filed a complaint detailing the abuse and asked for $500,000 in punitive damages.
Here is the original complaint: Amidon_TortClaim
The reported settlement of $150,000 seems a bit low given the egregious conduct and lack of admission of fault. Of course, we are not the “boots on the ground” in the case and the legal team was probably discounting for the avoidance of trial costs and appeals. However, given the response of the Police Department, I was hoping to see a more punitive element to the liability to guarantee a greater deterrent effect. If it was not for this tape, this case would never have seen the light of day.
It was the result of mediation with the judge in the federal court. It also contained a reported confidentiality agreement barring public comment.