Sunday, January 03, 2010

Preston Bussey III Dies After Being Tasered

Cocoa investigators are trying to figure out how a man died at a hospital after local police shocked him with a Taser.

On Sunday, the victim's family spoke out.

"I feel that he went there for safety, for a safe place and he should have been protected," said Pearl Morice, the mother of Preston Bussey III. "I don't know what happened, but I'm seeking justice."

Bussey, 41, admitted himself to Wuesthoff Hospital with apparent self-inflicted wounds, according to a police report. The emergency room physician called for an involuntary psychological examination. The police report said Buseey became combative and disruptive.

Hospital officials called the Rockledge Police Department, after which two officers deployed their Tasers. Bussey was kept in the waiting room, where he was given medication and placed on a gurney. Buseey died shortly after.

"It's agony to not have answers to dear questions especially when they're dealing with your children," said Preston Bussey Jr., the victim's father.

The family said their son's death was even more painful because another son died at Holmes Regional Medical Center after a struggle with police in 1999.

The Rockledge Police Department said in a statement that they sent their sincerest condolences to the Bussey family during the tragic event.

With the investigation ongoing by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the department said it would be premature to comment further on the incident.

Officer Kelly Maloney Charged with Domestic Violence

A Louisville Metro police officer is on administrative leave tonight after she was arrested for assault.

Kelly Maloney faces a fourth degree assault charge for domestic violence and minor injury.

She was booked into jail shortly before 10:30 p.m. Friday, and released on her own recognizance a little after 3:00 a.m. Saturday.

At this time, officials have not released any other details of this arrest.
More Information and Photo

California Police Can be Held Liable for Using Tasers

In a case that could set the first broad judicial standards for the use of Tasers, a federal appeals court in California has ruled that the police can be held liable for using one of the devices against an unarmed person during a traffic stop.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, based in San Francisco, said the electrically disabling device constituted excessive force when used against an unarmed man who did not pose a threat, and it refused to allow a police officer immunity for its use.

In a vividly worded opinion issued by the court this week, Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw described a “bad morning” for Carl Bryan, a 21-year-old Californian who drove over large stretches of Southern California to retrieve car keys mistakenly taken by a friend and ended up being Tasered by a Coronado, Calif., policeman and breaking four teeth when he fell to the ground.

Mr. Bryan was stopped twice on his driving odyssey, once for speeding and once for not wearing his seat belt. After the second stop, he was “agitated, standing outside his car, yelling gibberish and hitting his thighs, clad only in his boxer shorts and tennis shoes,” the court said.

The judge noted, however, that Mr. Bryan did not threaten the officer, Brian McPherson, and was not trying to flee — all elements of a three-part test that the United States Supreme Court has used to determine when significant force is justified. As for the third factor in the court’s test, the severity of the offense at issue, the Ninth Circuit judges observed that “traffic violations generally will not support the use of a significant level of force.”

The court found that the policeman’s use of force so exceeded the threat posed by Mr. Bryan that it denied his request for immunity for his actions and for a quick dismissal of the case against him. Instead, the judges will allow the case to go forward.

Eugene G. Iredale, a lawyer for Mr. Bryan, hailed what he called a “landmark decision.”

A lawyer for Officer McPherson, Steven E. Boehmer, did not return calls seeking comment.

Orin S. Kerr, a former federal prosecutor and a professor at George Washington University Law School, called it “an important case” that was unusual in the way it set a broad rule without giving deference to the use of force by the police.

Geoffrey P. Alpert, a professor of criminal justice at the University of South Carolina who recently completed a four-year study of Tasers for the Department of Justice, said that Tasers and other “conducted electrical devices” were used by more than 17,000 law enforcement agencies and that some departments had already upgraded their rules to allow their use only in the case of an “active or immediate threat.”

If the Ninth Circuit ruling is not overturned, Professor Alpert said, the Bryan case “is going to impact a lot of departments that have not changed their standards.”

Officer Marcus Jackson Charged with Sexual Assault Had Prior Record

Fox News is reporting nationally the story that ran in the Charlotte Observer earlier about a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer, Marcus Jackson, who was fired and has been charged with 3 counts of sexual assault on two different women he pulled for traffic offenses.

We were rather suspicious when the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe said "it would be naïve" to believe that the officer hadn't assaulted other women. He issued the officer's mug shot to the media, hoping other potential victims will come forward, according the Charlotte Observer.

Sure enough, there is more. Now we learn that this same officer apparently has a previous record of domestic violence and was at one time order not to carry a gun by a restraining ordered issued against him. But he was not convicted.

He actually has two records, one 2003 and another in 2005. CPD admitted they knew about the 2003 complaint but contended that a criminal records check turned up nothing on the 2005 incident. So he was hired in 2008 as a police officer.

The current charges are that on December 18 Jackson pulled a 17 year-old girl and offered to not write her a ticket if she performed sex acts on him. Then a 21-year old woman came forward to say that Jackson had pulled her and forced her to commit similar acts.

There is some question about whether the CPD knew about the first attack before the second one took place.

The revelations follow a number of reports in recent months about other law enforcement officers being involved in sex acts, some with victims they had pulled. Other reports were related to highway patrol troopers engaging in sex acts while on duty and some were alleged to be in patrol cars.

There have been similar reports from New Jersey, and Tennessee.

And of course, most of our readers are well aware of the reports of similar activities in the N. C. Highway Patrol. As McClatchy reports, there have been at least 27 cases of sexual misconduct in the Patrol since 1998.

After a previous story similar to this one ran on the Beaufort Observer we received reports of other incidents that have not been reported. One former state trooper indicated to us that "it is a common occurrence and it is known by supervisors who even joke about it at times."