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Taser victim takes case to next level

A North Carolina man whose catastrophic personal injury case was dismissed by a lower court is seeking redress from the state's highest court after suffering wounds during a police encounter in 2009. The man is attempting to convince the higher court that the police officer who shot him with a Taser should not be immune to lawsuits, according to official reports. The victim in the case and his attorney are presenting arguments to the North Carolina Supreme Court after the state Court of Appeals gave the officer the benefit of the doubt despite conflicting evidence.

News reports indicate that this decision is extraordinarily important because it is one of the first of its kind to be decided in the state courts. That means that the case could be used as a precedent for others of its kind; in other words, this case could influence a string of others, so it is critical that it is fairly decided.

The encounter with police occurred in July 2009, when the man was dropped off at a corner in Durham. Visibly intoxicated, the man went into a convenience store to purchase more beer. A police officer drove up on the street outside in the meantime, ultimately questioning the man after he emerged from the store. After being advised that he was not under arrest, the man attempted to flee the scene, even as officers attempted to handcuff him. An officer then shot the man with a Taser as he was running away on the pavement. When the man fell to the pavement, he broke his jaw; subsequent medical treatment cost about $34,000, according to the victim and his attorney.

In this case, the man is attempting to convince the courts that a jury verdict is required for a fair proceeding, largely because it is possible that the officer acted with malice. Victims of police brutality and misconduct deserve financial compensation for the injuries they suffer during violent altercations, especially if those encounters involve a weapon.

Source:  www.heraldsun.com, "Taser victim asks state Supreme Court to review case" Ray Gronberg, Sep. 26, 2013

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