A single Taser strike usually lasts about five seconds, but a police officer in Fredericksburg, Va., tased a suspect for 42 seconds straight on Saturday night. An internal investigation has been launched to determine if the officer is guilty of misconduct.
A witness with a cell phone captured the incident, which occurred after a gray Buick hit five parked cars. The driver exited the vehicle and ran away, but the passenger remained on the scene. He reportedly threatened to hurt witnesses if they called police, but some of them still called.
When the officer arrived on the scene, he told the man to get down on the ground. When the suspect attempted to flee, the officer fired his Taser for more than 40 seconds, even though the man was lying on the ground screaming for him to stop.
“A single trigger-pull (and release) of a Taser is a five-second charge,” said Fredericksburg Police spokeswoman Natatia Bledsoe to a local Fox channel. Now, a sustained charge, which is what appears to occur in the video, is not prohibited, but we are looking into whether or not the circumstances that happened Saturday night indicated that that was appropriate.”
Although the department policy has several rules for Tasers — officers may not use them on suspects operating vehicles, or on those “passively resisting,” it does not specify a time limit for Tasings.
The policy also states, “As with the use of deadly force, officers contemplating the use of non-deadly force shall apply a standard of objective reasonableness, basing any decision to use force on the totality of the circumstances known to them at the time. . . . Officers need not select the least amount of force that can be used, but must select a level of force that is reasonable for the given circumstances.”