Saturday, January 2, 2010

Widget: New 'Miranda Rights' Against Taser Abuse


January 3, 2010

Contact: Atty. Francis L. Holland
Afrosphere Blogger
Rua dos Cajueiros, 165, Apt. 14
Centro - Porto Seguro
Bahia, Brazil 45810-000
Mobile Phone: 55 (73) 9123-4538
Skype: fazinformatica2005

Dear Afrosphere Opponents of Police
"Taser" Pre-trial, Extra-Judicial Shock,
Electrocution and Execution:

"These are new 'Miranda Rights' against 'taser' abuse,"
said Atty. Francis L. Holland."

There's been a ground-breaking decision by the 9th Circuit US Federal Court of Appeals against taser abuse, entitled Bryan v. McPherson. This decision was announced on December 29th, between Christmas and New Years holidays but it deserves our immediate attention and dissemination via our EasyWidgets:

The decision writes into federal caselaw many of the arguments and advocacy that we afrosphere bloggers have been making at our Days (months and years) of Blogging for Justice Against Police Pre-Trial, Extra-Judicial "Taser" Shock, Electrocution and Execution devices. The Easy-Widget HTML code below enables us to educate the public of their newly announced rights.

The 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals agreed with us that:

". . . we must “balance the amount of force applied against the need for that force.” Bryan v. McPherson, 9th Cir. Fd. Ct. App., December 29, 2009.

This decision has direct legal effect throughout the 9th Circuit, consisting of populous California, Alaska, Washington, Montana, Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, Hawaii and Guam, and influential in other parts of the country. Nearly 20% of America's population is within the jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit.

The Court announced what we have long insisted:

"A reasonable police officer . . . would have foreseen these physical injuries when confronting a shirtless individual standing on asphalt. We have held that force can be unreasonable even without physical blows or injuries." Bryan v. McPherson

We have widgets up at 123 afrosphere blogs telling the public that when "Tasers" are used, "The price is too high". Now, one of the most influential federal circuit courts of appeal in the country agrees with us that members of the public are seriously injured by Tasers unconstitutionally:

"The presence of non-minor physical injuries like those suffered by Bryan, however, is certainly relevant in evaluating the degree of the Fourth Amendment intrusion." Bryan v. McPherson

Let's celebrate! Here's a new EasyWidget that takes readers to our anti-electrocution blogs. This Easy-Widget HTML (immediately below) links to Electrocuted While Black, but there are visibly identical widgets below that lead to Tasered While Black and the Police Brutality Blog.

The result is better than that for which many of us had hoped. Instead of arguing locally for changes to voluntarily enforced police taser policy, Bryan's lawyers in this case, and bloggers making similar arguments, convinced the 9th Circuit Federal Appeals Court to write these requirements and limitations into Federal caselaw, which is faster, better and politically more acceptable than having these judicial restrictions enacted into law in a summary fashion by the US Congress. This decision requires that the facts of each case be weighed carefully, with Constitutional protections of the public in mind.

Afrosphere bloggers and the Ninth Circuit encourage other circuits to follow this example, observing that:

"We, along with our sister circuits, have held that tasers and stun guns fall into the category of non-lethal force. Non-lethal, however, is not synonymous with non-excessive; all force—lethal and non-lethal—must be justified by the need for the specific level of force employed." Bryan v. McPherson

Not everyone -- blogger or reader -- has had a chance to read the whole Bryan v. McPherson case. So, the Easy-Widget quotes the most powerful language of the decision and links to our afrosphere blogs for more information.

In Bryan v. McPherson, the 9th Circuit Federal Appeals Court basically wrote into federal caselaw many of the arguments that we taser opponents have been arguing. But this is better than what many of us had sought, because instead of it being a change in local optionally enforced "guidelines," it's a change in obligatorily obeyed federal case law for the states in the 9th Circuit, and also, as the decision alludes, the 9th Circuit has enormous influence on other "sister" circuits courts.

Please join Electrocuted While Black in celebrating this decision by posting a widget that tells readers their rights and takes them to a blog where they can learn more, be it Electrocuted While Black or the Police Brutality Blog. Installation of the Easy-Widget below is a quick and easy way to quote some of the best parts of the case for your readers.



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