Snohomish Man Tased by Police Gets His Day in Court
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the dismissal of a Snohomish man’s case against the City of Snohomish Police Department for tasing and arresting him, likely sending the case back for a trial. Then-Sgt. Jeff Shelton tased Don Gravelet-Blondin when called out to police who were arresting his 80-year-old neighbor, standing at a distance of nearly 40 feet away. Sgt. Shelton then arrested Don for “obstructing,” while another cop told his wife, Kristi, “you’ll be next.” US District Court Judge Lasnik found that the tasing violated the Constitution, but dismissed the case anyway because he found the police could have been reasonably mistaken regarding the law on tasers. The Ninth Circuit panel held otherwise, stating that the law was clear that no more than “trivial force” was required, and that tasers constitute more than “trivial force.” The appeals court also reversed the dismissal of the false arrest claim, and a claim of “outrage” on behalf of Kristi.