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SALT LAKE CITY - A former adjunct BYU professor is about to sue a Third District Court judge, claiming the judge wrongfully ordered him cuffed and tasered by Salt Lake County Sheriffs deputies.
Tom Lowery was acting as his own attorney on November 22, 2004. In the courtroom, he suffered from a stress-induced mental disability, as he struggled to conduct lucid oral arguments in a case he's More..filed against a three leaders of his local LDS church group, one of whom was a BYU Professor.
As his demeanor becomes confrontational, Judge Anthony Quinn grows impatient with Lowery's behavior.
Five deputies attempt to cuff him and, as the judge has ordered, take him to a holding cell to cool down. After a momentary struggle, they zap him with a taser. Lowery says, "And then I hit the floor. They were on top of me and I was trying to scramble away from the electricity. They tased me into unconsciousness."
Judge Quinn can't comment on the the case. University of Utah Law Professor Medwed sat down with ABC 4 and watched the courtroom video.
As Medwed sees the video for the first time, watching the bailiffs attempt to cuff Lowery, he says, It looks as though there are five bailiffs who appear to be armed. He adds, Usually the use of a taser is designed to apprehend a fleeing suspect or someone who poses a security risk.
Medwed says, Mr. Lowery was not about to leave the premises, nor was he a flight risk.
Lowery says, as a disabled person, experiencing a state of mania, he should have been talked down, not literally forced down.
In any courtroom, a judge maintains ultimate control. But Medwed says that control must be reasonable. He feels the taser was not appropriate.
Medwed says, Its justified only when its reasonably necessary to justify the end of law enforcement. The man was already in handcuffs. It's shocking."
ABC 4 examined the tape again in slow motion and upon closer inspection, it appears Mr. Lowery was not actually cuffed at the time of his first tasering. His hands are free as deputies wrestle him to the ground. So the question remains: Was he resisting arrest, or did deputies over react? This question will most likely be answered when the case goes to court.
"Cops that lie, need to die!" A police officer that lies to get an arrest or send someone to prison should be shot.
"In the U.S., a cop with a gun can commit the most heinous crime and be given the benefit of the doubt."
"The U.S. Government does not have rights, it has privileges delegated to it by the people."