The defendant in this case, Patrick Dockery, was arrested for domestic violence at his girlfriend’s apartment. Apparently, the ride to the police station did nothing to calm him down and as he was being fingerprinted, he became confrontational, fell over, and started kicking wildly at the two officers in the booking area who were trying to handcuff him. One of the officers Tased Dockery four times before they were finally able to get the handcuffs on him.
Dockery filed a §1983 civil suit for excessive use of force and the officers sought qualified immunity. The Magistrate judge denied QI, but the Seventh Circuit reversed holding that “No case clearly establishes that an officer may not use a Taser under these circumstances.”
Practice Note: This case provides an excellent discussion of the three modes of Taser operation and also provides very insightful Graham analysis demonstrating the significance of the “active resistance” Graham factor when a Taser is being used. It also reminds us that each “zap” has to be independently justified and also that the use of a Taser on a person who is fully subdued or not actively revisiting will not be reasonable under a Graham analysis. You should take a few minutes to read this case. Use the link below!