U.S. Supreme Court Lets Stand Important Civil Rights Ruling on Police Use of Tasers and Arrests for “Obstruction”
On February 24, the Supreme Court of the United States denied without comment a request to overturn an important civil rights ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeals court had ruled the City of Snohomish, Washington, and its former officer Jeff Shelton, have to face trial on claims of excessive force, unlawful arrest, malicious prosecution and outrage brought by Snohomish citizens Don and Kristi Gravelet-Blondin. Shelton shot Mr. Blondin with a Taser, after Mr. Blondin asked what Shelton and other police officers were doing Tasing and handcuffing his 79-year-old neighbor.
This is the first time the Ninth Circuit has allowed a civil rights claim involving an officer using a Taser on a citizen to go to trial. The appeals court also held a jury should decide whether Shelton additionally violated the constitution by arresting Mr. Blondin and charging him with obstruction of a public servant for questioning police actions in this way.
News articles about the decision are here:
The Supreme Court’s order denying review without comment is noted here: http://www.supremecourt.gov/Search.aspx?FileName=/docketfiles/13-691.htm