Report on Taser use by the Department of Justice

Criminal defense lawyer Fort Lauderdale

United States Department of Justice has recently reported on the use of Taser equipment by police officers in the United States. Most of the findings in this report were based on the reports of law enforcement agencies, which included both Broward County and Miami-Dade County departments.

The report indicated that injuries to citizens as opposed to police officers indicated a discrepancy of up to 300%. Analytical data compiled by police officers using Taser equipment seem to indicate that most injuries used in calculating the data involved cuts and bruises. The seriousness of injuries overall was based on a determination compiled primarily by police departments.

Attorney William Moore in Broward County Florida explains that the fourth amendment forbids unreasonable searches and seizures and use of Tasers clearly fall under the seizure category. Unfortunately, what we find is that the most egregious cases involving Taser misuse is investigated by a police department’s internal affairs unit.

Use of Tasers compared to pepper spray.

The Department of Justice seems to analogize in contrast the use of Taser equipment with the use of pepper spray as a means of subduing a criminal suspect. The department primarily analogizes early use of pepper spray. Human rights groups such as Amnesty International criticized law enforcement’s use of pepper spray in the 1990s which seems to be portrayed as having no merit according to the department. Specifically the Department of Justice notes that numerous reports establish that violence towards officers rapidly declined in jurisdictions that use pepper spray. In essence, criticism of the weapon that preempted Tasers by Amnesty International was undermined.

William Moore, a criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale Florida notes that it is peculiar that the department failed to distinguish between the various types of spray irritants. There are several different forms of irritant spray that were utilized by law enforcement throughout the 90s. Some had a much more significant danger factor than others. The fact is, that suspects have died as a result of suffocation or adverse effects following being sprayed.

South Florida police departments such as Miami-Dade which employs over 3000 officers is one of the largest in the United States. Despite that jurisdictions having a high number of suspects reported to have resisted per capita, Miami-Dade has never issued pepper spray to their police officers. This raises some interesting questions as to the reasoning according to Attorney Moore. In other words, South Florida police departments may have considered the dangers associated with the use of such a weapon.

I don’t think that a proper analogy can be made between electric Tasers and pepper spray. I am disheartened that the comparison was included in the Department of Justices report for no other reason than to say “the same critics used to condemn the harmless use of pepper spray.”

More information about policing weapons in the age of technology can be obtained by contacting attorney William Moore in Broward County. The William Moore criminal defense law firm is located at One Financial Plaza, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33394. William Moore can be emailed at or by calling 954-523-5333.

Injury from Taser use in Broward County

Criminal defense lawyer Fort Lauderdale

The use of Tasers or stun guns by police officers in Florida has been the subject of much debate since their inception.

On the one hand, people in favor of the device argue that it deters individuals suspected of committing a crime from resisting officers and ultimately leads to less injury by the suspect.

Those against the use of Tasers in Florida point out the numerous injuries and deaths resulting from it’s use.

Once again in Fort Lauderdale, we have another case of an individual who was severely injured after being tasered. In this most recent case in which three a would-be burglary suspect who is alleged to have stolen no more than $75 from a laundromat and was otherwise obeying officer demands according to Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney William Moore. In fact by witnesses on the scene, the suspect had returned to the scene of the crime in response to officer direction. For some reason he was stunned which resulted in his being hospitalized in critical condition.

This is but one of countless cases in Florida according to Moore.

It wasn’t long ago that police chief Michael Mann resign following officers under his direction and control used a stun gun that resulted in the death of an individual suspected of committing a crime. Additionally criticism also ignited following an earlier case in Florida whereby law enforcement officers tasered an elderly gentleman who is not resisting arrest.

More recently was a case involving a Coconut Creek man who was tasered to death. Calvin read was allegedly tasered up to four times by officers. Adding to public outrage was the fact that officers involved were reluctant to reveal facts surrounding the suspect’s death.

Criminal lawyer William Moore, an attorney who is practiced in Fort Lauderdale for nearly 20 years poses the question as to whether or not the use of Tasers is to be considered reasonable as opposed to and excessive force in violation of our constitutional rights. Ramifications to police officers who unjustifiably use tasers rarely result in a finding of excessive force. Police officers are exonerated criminally and professionally in most cases. Furthermore, any civil remedy afforded by law seems to be nonexistent based on court rulings.

 Civil liability for excessive force by use of Tasers.

What we need to consider is whether or not the use of a device that is viewed by police officers maybe more frequently used by trigger-happy officers who believe that such force is allowed by law. The fact is that where an officer believes that he will not be prosecuted were found to have committed wrongdoing when using such a dangerous weapon may become somewhat trigger-happy.

Courts are supposed to consider factors in evaluating whether a police officer’s use of Taser equipment was warranted and otherwise justified. The reasonableness of an officer’s actions are supposed to be adequately assessed. A determination is supposed to be made in accordance with suppose it strict guidelines which are:

The severity of a suspect’s crime, whether that suspect post an apparent threat to law enforcement or civilians and finally whether or not the criminal suspect attempted to resist apprehension.

Why then in so many cases do we see the split-second and incorrect snap decision of officers resulting in the tasering of a suspect. More importantly, why does it seem that only severe cases or even outrageous cases result in retribution to the officers that used a stun gun unreasonably and without justification.

According to attorney William R. Moore the courts are supposed to conduct a thorough investigation when evaluating whether or not the use of Taser equipment was justified.

Crime Severity.

The severity of crime is quite an important factor however lacks effectiveness when it is viewed in a manner that can be considered subjective to the officer (or what that officer may have thought). The fact is that a crime’s severity is often dismissed where a suspect resists an officer, is hostile or even argumentative. A determination as to justification is diluted where the standard is reduced to considering not the severity of the crime but instead in finding excessive force only in circumstances where the crime alleged is so minor that it wouldn’t have even warranted a citation.

William Moore claims that this doesn’t make sense as an act that doesn’t warrant a citation isn’t criminal.

Instead of evaluating the severity of an alleged criminal act courts have been criticized for reducing the criteria to finding excessive force only in circumstances where police officers were not even attempting to arrest a criminal suspect or whether based on the subjective belief of an officer that a criminal suspect MAY have posed a threat.

The use of Tasers seems to be supported by both lawmakers in the courts that interpret those laws as a necessary device rather than dangerous weapon and have effectively changed the criteria required in determining whether or not police officers used excessive force when deploying Taser equipment threat posed by criminal suspect.

The second criteria in determining the reasonableness or justification of Taser use by law enforcement in criminal investigations is a full evaluation of the threat posed by the Tasered suspect/victim.

Attorney William R. Moore claims that the second prong has all but been evaporated by the courts.

Broward County courts have found that a suspect’s refusal to show hands when ordered to do so was justification for deploying Tasers. Furthermore stun guns have been found reasonable and justified when the suspect was stopped for a traffic infraction.

Actively resisting law enforcement officers.

The application of this prong is considered laughable by criminal defense attorneys. This is because many courts, rather than making a determination as to whether or not a suspect resisted with violence have shown emphatically that the use of Taser equipment on a suspect is reasonable and justified where the individual has already been subdued, handcuffed, has been absolutely compliant with officer demands or unconscious.

According to attorney Moore, application of the criteria gets even worse. This is because police officers have been found to have acted reasonably and lawfully despite repeatedly tasering individual whereby that suspect was completely subdued yet feared of as being able to somehow pose a threat.

More information about the use of tasers by police officers in Florida can be found by viewing William Moore’s recent lecture on Taser lawsuits, statistics and governmental reports.

The William Moore criminal defense law firm is located in Broward County Florida. Our Fort Lauderdale office is located at One Financial Plaza, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33394.

William Moore can be reached for comment by calling 954-523-5333.


Murder, Arson and Burglaries this week in Broward County

William R. Moore defense attorney Fort Lauderdale

I am attorney William R. Moore and this week in Broward County crime news we saw violent crime along with the typical theft cases specific to burglary in our community. First up according to the Broward County Sun Sentinel we have a sad story involving a woman who was beaten to death and then left in her home whereafter the assailant tried to cover up the crime by attempting to burn down the house with her body inside. What’s more upsetting about this violent crime is that at the time that the arson was attempted the victim was not yet dead.

Fort Lauderdale William R. Moore

Assailant make well Castano Herrera is alleged to have lost his job and been put out on the street when he was given shelter by a friend and coworker. Later Mr. Herrera was accused of stealing from that same coworker.

According to reports, the victim’s sister learned of the thefts and demanded that he be removed from her siblings home which resulted in increased tension between the defendant Herrera and the sister. Broward County Sheriff’s deputies believe that it was this escalated feud between the two that led to Herrera’s beating victim Diaz. Ms. Diaz died of blunt force trauma wounds in hospital three days after being discovered.

Evidence was discovered tending to link the defendant to the crimes. Specifically items used to beat the victim along with cleaning items and chemicals. Defendant Herrera is being held on no bond in the Broward County Jail.

Additional crime news involves burglaries in Fort Lauderdale where jewelry was taken from a residence. Suspects were alleged to have broken into one home were items were taken. The assailants apparently rode bicycles in committing the crime.

Images of the assailants were recorded on a home security system according to attorney William Ryan Moore the suspects have not yet been apprehended however clear images depicting the identities of same was recorded via video surveillance.

Lowest crime rate since 1970 – BSO Responds with Massive Sting Operation

William R. Moore Criminal Defense Lawyer | Broward County FL

Back in the early 1990’s while studying law, there was kind of a joke going around among the 3-L’s about everyone collectively agreeing to back off the strenuous competition that seems ever prevalent early on in this profession. I personally loved the rivalry and the comradery. Like most, I never bought into the flawed reasoning of the handful of students that could some how ignore the pressure. I will never forget being told once by a fellow student (and roommate) that problem with setting the bar too high is that success means an even tougher second season. The next challenge will have to be even more monumental less you appear to be loosing your touch.

In order to enjoy in the thrill of victory a second time you need… well… the victory.

I wonder where that guy is now?

He certainly isn’t with the Broward sheriff’s Office. These guys are truly a testament to over achievement. I am certain that our deputies would have been a motivating force even to him. Take for instance the recent FDLE statistics that once again report that Broward County crime is at an all time low.

Actually, crime is lover than it has been in over 44 years apparently. Now that is a heck of a victory. Didn’t they say this exact thing last May?

I will have to look up the article.

Yep BSO did it again!

To only have heard the rationalization that otherwize convinced the higher-ups at the station that implementation of a massive sting operation was absolutely necessary to maintain a firm grip on our Broward County crime stronghold. All of this went full scale only hours after news of the almost nonexistent crime in our town.

It’s like a marvel comic.

BSO Lt. Steve Feeley said violent crime is down in Broward County but BSO’s efforts to protect the community is as strong as ever.

Numerous arrests for low level drug possession and prostitution were made. One hundred of them.

Investigators said arrests they made during the one-day sweep may also pay dividends by helping to solve other crimes.

“Sometimes we can develop leads that help to clear other cases and crimes that maybe we don’t have good leads on,” said BSO Det. Kevin Viera.

Those arrested were taken to be checked out by a nurse before being forwarded to the main jail.

It’s when the street level (mostly homeless) drug users and prostitutes could easily be approached and questioned about more sinister crimes that may be taking place in our County.

You can never be too safe right?

No apparent lead jackpot was uncovered by detectives or the nurse that was “checking those arrested out.” This of-course led to the planning and implementation of another sting operation over the following two days.

It was labeled Operation Hat Trick.

See CBS Article

What on earth!

Questions or comments can be directed to:

William Moore Criminal Defense Attorneys
1 Financial Plaza #2500
Fort Lauderdale FL 33394
(954) 523-5333