Prosecutors Get Prison Sentence for Two Police Officers in South Carolina Taser Case
South Carolina police officers Eric Walters and Franklin Brown were sentenced on federal charges today. The officers originally faced state charges, which were dropped when federal prosecutors took over, Time Magazine reports.
They were charged with Tasering a mentally disabled woman at least eight times for not obeying the officers' commands. However, woman assaulted, 40-year-old Melissa Davis, was not given enough time to comply.
According the the Associated Press, Officer Walters saw Melissa Davis when he was on patrol. She was walking out of the yard of a home for sale. "He asked her what she was doing, thinking she might have broken into the home, then shocked her with his Taser, according to court papers," reports AP. "After Davis fell to the ground, Walters ordered her to put her hands behind her back, then shocked her four more times before she could respond, prosecutors said."
When Officer Brown arrived, he helped Officer Walters remove the tasers from Melissa Davis' back, then proceeded to shock her with his taser because her hands weren't completely in the handcuffs -- even though court papers show she was not trying to escape or resist arrest.
AP reports that "Brown shocked Davis twice more, then offered to let her go if he could shoot her in the forehead one more time with his Taser, prosecutors said. Brown told the other officers at the scene he shot Davis with the Taser because he 'did not want to touch that nasty (obscenity),' according to his plea agreement."
Prior to today's ruling, Officer Walters' lawyer asked for a six-month prison sentence and six months of home detention because he is in poor health after several heart attacks suffered before age 39. The lawyer added that Walters had a good record as an officer before the incident.
Brown's lawyers did not file any motions asking for mercy before the sentencing.
Fox News reports that the court denied Officer Walters' requests and sentenced him to 18 months in prison. Officer Brown received a harsher sentence - one year and one day in prison - due to the fact that Melissa Davis was in a vulnerable position when he shocked her with his Taser.
Prosecutors said the officers, who were fired about three weeks after the incident, should have known Melissa Davis had a diminished mental state. Her caretaker filed a lawsuit against the officers and the city of Marion, stating that Davis was well known around town because of her condition. The lawsuit seeks a minimum of $2 million. Davis said along with the physical pain and suffering from the shocks and their after-effects, she continues to need help to deal with mental anguish from what happened.
The cops are supposed to protect us, but who can protect us from them? Jesse Ventura weighs in on this #OffTheGrid episode:
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