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Wednesday, July 24, 2024 | Back issues
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Officers Win Immunity |in Maui Tasering Lawsuit

(CN) - Officers did not violate a Maui woman's constitutional rights by Tasering her when she tried to stop them from arresting her husband during a domestic dispute, the 9th Circuit ruled.

Jayzel and Troy Mattos' 14-year-old daughter called police to report that her parents were fighting and "things were being thrown around," according to the ruling.

Officers Darren Agarano, Ryan Aikala, Stuart Kunioka and Halayudha MacKnight found a drunken Troy sitting outside on the steps of his home.

The situation escalated when officers went inside to find Jayzel, because Troy didn't want them entering the house.

Jayzel put herself between the officers and her husband when they tried to arrest him, the ruling states. She allegedly put her hands on the chest of one officer, who then Tasered her.

The Mattoses filed suit, claiming the officers violated their constitutional rights. The district court denied the officers' request for immunity, saying the use of a Taser may have been unreasonable.

On appeal, the Honolulu-based appellate panel found that the officers did not use excessive force, because Troy was drunk and the situation was quickly becoming heated and possibly dangerous.

The officers were granted qualified immunity from the Mattoses' claims.

The panel said Jayzel's contact with Officer Aikala "appears to have been incidental and due mainly to the cramped quarters," but that Troy was "belligerent" and he "posed a threat."

Harassment and resisting arrest charges against Jayzel and Troy, respectively, were eventually dismissed or dropped.

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