Outcomes - Selected Case Summaries

Use of Taser Unreasonable Force

Investigation | 15 January 2019
Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS)

A man was pulled over for speeding. The officers could smell alcohol on his breath and asked for a breath specimen in accordance with the law. The driver refused to provide the sample and was told he was under arrest, at which time he attempted to flee on foot. An officer ran after him and stopped him from running away by shooting him in the back using a Taser. The driver complained that the use of the Taser was unreasonable and an abuse of power which resulted in injuries to his face and leg.

The Ombudsman found that the officer had grounds to arrest the man for refusal to provide a breath specimen. However, she found the use of the Taser to be an unreasonable use of force given the circumstances. The RCIPS training materials state that the use of a Taser, when a person is running away, should be avoided to prevent individuals uncontrollably falling to the ground. Tasers should only be used to mitigate threats to police officers or citizens, and there was no evidence of a threat to the officers in this case. The Ombudsman recommended the Commissioner of Police consider disciplining the officer involved. The Commissioner accepted the recommendation and a disciplinary hearing has been scheduled.