Deputy tasing incident being looked into
Tue, 16 Sep 2014 21:44:11 GMT —
COLUMBIA (WACH) - This video shows a Richland County Sheriff's deputy tasing 25 year old Charles Lang after a verbal altercation and multiple warnings Lang would get tased.
Lang is wearing handcuffs the entire time.
The question now is whether the deputy had the right to tase Lang.
The Sheriff's Department has a policy referred to as "plus one" that gives a rough guideline for how much force a deputy can use.
"If we're dealing with someone who is using force against us, we are allowed to go plus one above. So therefore, in this situation, he didn't go to his gun, his weapon, we went to a taser because it was plus one." say Lieutenant Curtis Wilson of the Richland County Sheriff's Department.
The video then shows Lang being tased again, this time when he's already on the ground.
Legal experts say even though Lang doesn't seem to be a threat with his handcuffs on, that doesn't mean he couldn't cause harm to the deputy.
"Just because someone is handcuffed does not mean that they are not a danger to the officer or to others, it doesn't mean necessariliy that they are not a flight risk. People have run away in handcuffs before. People have attacked officers in handcuffs before." says Seth Stoughton, a criminal law professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law.
Next in this case, the tape will be reviewed internally to determine whether the deputy's actions were "objectively reasonable".
Meaning other parties will have to understand why the deputy tased Lang, once they see reports explaining the events leading up to the video.
Until then, the Sheriff's Department says they are following proper procedure and owning their deputy's actions.
"We're doing exactly what we're supposed to do. Following protocol...Until all the facts come out, we ask to hold judgment until we get to the bottom of exactly what took place." says Wilson.
There isn't a set time for when the review process has to be completed.
The Sheriff's Department says it could take a couple of days to finish up.
Once internal affairs is finished with its review, a citizens advisory board will look at everything before a recommendation is made to Sheriff Leon Lott.
If the officer involved is found to be at fault, Sheriff Lott will decide what will happen next.