The alleged misuse of a Taser resulted in a Texas police officer's unpaid suspension. A misdemeanor charge for official oppression has also been filed against him. He was formally indicted recently. While police officers tend to face difficult situations in which they must make split-second decisions, recent confrontations between law enforcement and individuals across the United States have apparently brought tighter scrutiny to officer's actions.
Three police officers responded to a call for possible suspicious behavior in what has been described as a small college town with primarily black students. Two of the officers who responded were also black, and their other colleague -- the man who has since been criminally charged -- was white. Just prior to the discharge of the Taser, the officers were questioning four individuals about the possible activity. When one of the men did not follow instructions, the officer discharged the Taser according to the advice of one of the other officers present.
The individual who was shot was initially charged with interfering with police duties as well as for resisting arrest, but one of the charges was ultimately dropped while the other did not hold up as a grand jury decided not to indict him. The officer, however, was later accused of reacting based on racial stereotypes. The local police chief has commented that the Taser incident is in no way indicative of the town nor the local police force, and has stated that he believes the whole situation involving the officer is unfortunate.
For a civil servant who has dedicated his life to serving and protecting a community, the potential year behind bars might is just one devastating consequence of a conviction. For many defendants in Texas, a conviction -- even on a misdemeanor charge -- can effectively erase any number of career opportunities, even one in which a person previously thrived. As such, it is often well advised for defendants to take the process of preparing a competent and complete defense as seriously as possible.
Source: abc13.com, "Officer indicted for using Taser on Prairie View City Council member", Jan. 25, 2016