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Westland police accused in second tasing incident

Catherine Shaffer
Jerry Shingles outside the Westland Police Department

Another complaint has been made against the Westland Police Department for excessive use of force involving a taser. Westland Police are already investigating the use of a taser on a man holding an infant. Now another man, Jerry Shingles, says he was tased when police came to his house at 2:30 in the morning looking for his father, Jerry Dickinson.

Shingles told them Dickinson wasn’t at the house, and that, in fact, he had put Dickinson out a couple of days previous.

When Shingles declined to allow officers to search his house, they arrested him on a traffic warrant and tased him. “As my hands were behind my back, they're all yelling, 'Stop resisting stop resisting stop resisting.' And I'm--no, I'm not resisting,” says Shingles.

Shingles made a complaint right away, but he says he was asked to drop it in exchange for being cleared of charges of resisting arrest. He declined.

Tasers have become popular in recent years as a safer alternative weapon to a gun or bare hands, according to Robert Stevenson, Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police. He says that tasers are generally used when a subject is non-compliant, and that taser use has resulted in fewer injuries and fewer excessive force lawsuits against departments.

“So typically the taser is used when the person is resisting the officer, and the officer is concerned about a person, some other person, or themselves,” says Stevenson.

As an example from his own experience, Stevenson says he once had a person who was threatening suicide by holding a knife to their own throat. Officers used a taser on that person and were able to resolve the situation with no serious injuries to the person or to themselves.

“So there’s an example of a situation where the person isn’t actually attacking the officer, but they’re concerned about the welfare of the person or somebody else and use a taser.”

Angela Martin is a spokesperson for attorney Greg Rohl, who is representing Shingles and Raymurez Brown, who was tased holding his two-month old son last month.

“It doesn’t matter how you treat their police officers and how you speak to them. They’re going to tase you anyways. There’s a taser problem in the city of Westland,” says Martin.

The following exchange from a transcription of police videos provided to Rohl through a discovery order seems to support Martin’s assertion:

Jerry: Ya know, I’m just like, hey what’s going on? Who is going to instigate anything, ya know with three grown men, enough to get tasered, three grown men. Officer: I know but to you, again, it’s not that easy because listen, I got into a fight, I have got into plenty of situations with guys a lot smaller than you. That take three, four, five guys. I’m not taking the chance, when we can handle it with a quick taser, a quick wrestling match and we hit the ground. Jerry: That’s excessive. (inaudible) Officer: But guess what? Did anyone punch ya? Punch you in the face, did anyone beat you while you were down? Jerry: No. Officer: Once it was done it was done right? Jerry: What? What?

Westland Police did not immediately respond to an interview request.