The tab for defending three Seattle police officers who in 2004 repeatedly used a Taser on a pregnant woman during a traffic stop is $424,616, according to the City Attorney’s Office.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider a final appeal of a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion that found that police can be held liable for excessive use of force when using Tasers in some circumstances. While the appeals court ended a civil lawsuit filed by the woman, Malaika Brooks, it allowed a state assault claim against the three officers to proceed.
Brooks sued the three officers, who used the device in stun-gun mode three times against her when she refused to sign a speeding ticket or get out of the car. She was seven months pregnant at the time.
The city appealed after a federal judge said the case could proceed to trial. A three-member panel sided with the officers, however, Brooks convinced the appeals court to reconsider. An 11-judge panel ruled 6-5 in Brookes’ favor.
The officers, through their attorney Ted Buck, took the case to the Supreme Court against the city’s wishes and on Buck’s dime.
Kimberly Mills, a spokeswoman for City Attorney Pete Holmes, said Buck’s former firm, the now-defunct Stafford Frey Cooper, was paid $405,000 of the city’s total cost for the case.