The city of Chicago will pay $55,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a woman who claimed she was Tasered by police when she was eight months pregnant.
Last June, 31-year-old Tiffany Rent says she was shocked by police after she pulled into a handicapped spot in front of a Walgreens, reports NBC News. She got out of the car to readjust one of her two children in the car when a police officer starting writing her a ticket.
Rent allegedly tore up the ticket and threw it at the officer. Rent then allegedly refused to give her identification to the officer and attempted to drive away. That's when the officer used his Taser on the young pregnant woman in front of her two children.
In her lawsuit, Rent made the common-sense argument that a parking ticket should never lead to an officer firing a stun gun, reports NBC News. This is especially the case when officers are dealing with a very pregnant woman with two young children in tow.
The police officer said he did not know Rent was eight months pregnant. In the officer's defense, a police superintendent said stun guns could be used when overcoming an assault or preventing escape; also, officers can't always tell that somebody is pregnant.
Nevertheless, the decision to settle the case was probably a good idea. Aside from the negative publicity that comes with defending a pregnant woman's lawsuit over the use of a Taser, there's a chance the city could have lost in court.
In a similar case in Washington state, a federal appeals court found that officers' Tasering of a pregnant woman after a moving violation was excessive force. However, the court in that particular case ruled that police would not be liable for damages because of qualified immunity.
- City to pay $55,000 to woman Tasered while pregnant (Chicago Sun-Times)
- Hogtied Pregnant Woman Gets $250K From CHP (FindLaw's Injured)
- When Are Police Allowed to Use Tasers? (FindLaw's Blotter)
- Another Taser Lawsuit, Another Qualified Immunity Finding (FindLaw's U.S. Sixth Circuit Blog)