PITTSBURGH — Thomas Smith’s family became devastated after a video surfaced online showing an officer Tase him repeatedly while he was handcuffed and not posing any threat to the officer, according to reports.
“He suffered injuries to arms and back and some nerve damage as well as psychological issues that he was confronted with,” said David Shrager, Thomas Smith’s attorney .
It began when Thomas Smith apparently was having some beer and became drunk.
Because he was still in public when he became drunk, he was arrested for “public drunkenness” — even though he had not harmed anyone.
30-year-old Officer Nicole Murphy was charged with violating a person’s civil rights.
Now that Officer Murphy is appearing for trial, her defense is that she only Tased the handcuffed victim because he kept bumping his “head against a desk .”
Officer Murphy Tased him and caused him immense pain, the argument goes, in order to “stop him from hurting himself.”
“She had a choice of Tasering him to subdue him or letting him split his head open,” said Robert Stewart, Officer Murphy’s defense attorney.
But according to the idictment, Officer Murphy deprived Thomas Smith of his rights.
“Officer Murphy, while acting under color of law as a police officer with the Millvale Police Department, deprived an individual identified as T.S. of the constitutional right to be free from unreasonable seizure, by deploying a Taser in both drive and probe-stun modes on T.S.’s person while he was handcuffed,” the indictment states.
A court has now heard the opening statements and will ultimately determine whether Officer Murphy will get away with Tasing a handcuffed man to “stop him from hurting himself.”
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