Police in Georgia who tasered a Black man while he was in “midair” not only violated law enforcement policy but also contributed to brain damage sustained during an encounter nearly two years ago, according to a new federal lawsuit demanding justice for the alleged excessive force.
The lawsuit, which was filed on Thursday, cites bodycam video footage as further evidence of why lawyers say Angelo Black was hospitalized for nearly a week with his injuries in an avoidable case of police brutality by the Gwinnett County Police Department.
Black was driving when Gwinnett County Officer Chase Weber pulled him over for a broken taillight on Oct. 21, 2021. But after Black was ordered from his car for the nonviolent suspicion of a minor traffic offense, he fled on foot fearing for his life, lawyers said.
When Weber gave chase, he fired a taser into Black’s back while Black was jumping down from a four-foot wall into a parking lot. When Black was struck, he was so stunned that he was incapacitated and landed on his head. Graphic bodycam footage shows Black lying facedown on asphalt motionless as a pool of blood grows around his head.
Black’s lawyers say the injury to his brain and skull was preventable had the officer followed police guidelines. There was also never a direct threat to the officer as Black, who was unarmed, ran away, not toward Weber.
“The officer went above and beyond to tase him in midair and risk ending his life,” attorney Reginald Greene told 11Alive. “His Fourth Amendment rights were violated when the police used excessive force to apprehend him.”
Black ended up spending five days in the hospital. Lawyers said Weber was either being “reckless” or had a lack of regard for Black’s safety.
“It’s simple. Either Officer Weber was reckless or he just didn’t give a damn,” attorney Harry Daniels said in a statement sent to NewsOne. “Officers like him think that a taser is a black check that they can use whenever, however and for whatever reason they want. That’s reckless, dangerous and illegal.”
Daniels added: “Still, at the end of the day, the taser didn’t cause Angelo Black’s brain damage. Officer Chase Weber did.”
Greene, Black’ other attorney, said there a “no excuse” for such excessive force and explained these types of actions don’t help the police’s reputation for brutality, particularly of Black drivers.
“There is no excuse for this,” Greene said. “Black men run from the police because they’re afraid that, if they don’t, they’re going to end up hurt or dead. Unfortunately, through his recklessness and negligence, Officer Weber proved them right.”
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