On February 14, 2011, Plaintiff Tommy Baker was in his home, standing at the top of a flight of stairs to his basement. A Union Township police officer entered his home and tased Baker without justification. Baker fell down the flight of stairs and suffered severe injuries, including a broken neck. District Court Judge Michael Barrett denied Union Township and its officer’s motion for summary judgment. Defendants appealed.
On September 19, 2014 the U.S. Sixth Circuit of Appeals affirmed, finding that the officer’s actions were objectively unreasonable and thus violated Baker’s constitutional rights. At the time of the tasing Baker was a non-violent misdemeanant suspect who had been, but was no longer, fleeing, standing at the top of an observable staircase and offering no resistance or indication of aggression. The officer gave no warnings or commands – he simply tased Baker, incapacitating him, causing him to fall down the stairs and suffer a broken neck. The Court also held that Union Township could not appeal the district court’s ruling because Plaintiff sought to hold the municipality liable under a theory of ratification for failing to investigate.
Plaintiff anticipates a trial date will be set for early 2015.