No Post-Verdict Relief for Tasered Commuter

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A federal judge denied post-verdict judgment to a man who screamed, “Don’t tase me, bro!” as a Bay Area policeman Tasered him in the scrotum.
     U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Corley denied Andre Little’s April 29 renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law in his 2013 civil lawsuit against Richmond, Calif., and its police Officer Tong.
     “Although plaintiff has made a credible argument that a reasonable jury might have reached a different verdict, he has not demonstrated ‘that the jury [here] has reached a seriously erroneous result’ given the evidence that was presented at trial,” Corley wrote her June 5 order.
     Citing Tennant v. Peoria & Pekin Union Ry., (321 U.S. 29, 35 (1944)), Corley wrote: “‘Courts are not free to reweigh the evidence and set aside the jury verdict merely because the jury could have drawn different inferences or conclusions or because judges feel that other results are more reasonable.'”
     Little was at an Amtrak train platform in Richmond during morning rush hour on March 16, 2012, waiting for the Stockton connection. He claims Richmond Police Officer Tong, first name unknown, a defendant with the City of Richmond, “asked whether he was associated with a group of African-American teenagers detained earlier for questioning.”
     Little said no, and Tong ordered him to “move down the platform.” Little refused, saying, “He needed to be close by in order to board his train.”
     Tong responded by grabbing his wrists and “tackling plaintiff and slamming him to the ground,” aided by another officer.
     Little swept away the Taser pointed at his head.
     Tong then pointed the Taser at Little’s scrotum, triggering Little to echo a cry made famous by a viral video of a 2007 incident at the University of Florida. “Don’t Tase me, bro! Please don’t Tase me in the balls! You don’t have to do this!”
     Little sued for assault and battery, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress and violations of state law and the Fourth Amendment.
     A week-long trial in January this year ended in a hung jury after two days of deliberation.
     In the retrial on March 23, Little moved for judgment as a matter of law at the close of evidence.
     The court denied the motion and sent the case to the jury, which found that “plaintiff had not proven that officer Tong had used excessive force,” Corley wrote.
     Little filed a renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law on April 29.
     Corley denied it on Friday, stating that the evidence could cause a “reasonable jury” to return a verdict in Tong’s favor.
     “Officer Tong testified that (1) he recognized the suspected fare evaders as violent individuals; (2) he thought it suspicious that plaintiff was ignoring his instructions; and (3) those things, coupled with plaintiff’s refusal to take his hands out of his pockets, led him to suspect that plaintiff might be reaching for a weapon.”
     She added: “Drawing all inferences in officer Tong’s favor, a reasonable jury could conclude that a reasonable officer could perceive plaintiff as posing an immediate threat.”
     Corley denied the motion in its entirety.

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