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Civil rights suit filed against GRU police officer in tasing case

Friday, Feb. 28, 2014 8:31 PM
Last updated Saturday, March 1, 2014 2:24 AM
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An Augusta man repeatedly shocked with a stun gun by a Georgia Re­gents University police officer filed suit Friday in U.S. District Court.

Named as defendants in Fred­erick Gibbons’ suit are GRU Officer Wes­­ley Martin and the other officers involved in his 2012 arrest, Martin’s supervisors and the University Sys­tem of Georgia’s Board of Regents.

Martin, who testified that he has stunned about two dozen people in his 2½ years as a GRU officer, shot and wounded a man on campus last weekend, saying it was in self-defense.

According to Gibbons’ suit, Mar­tin’s actions were in retaliation for a 2010 complaint Gibbons filed against him.

On Sept. 23, 2010, Martin stopped Gibbons, who was driving a vehicle with a dealer’s tag. Martin issued a citation but had another officer sign it. Gibbons initially refused to sign for the ticket, and Martin and Officer Zack Skinner arrested him. Gibbons alleges that Skinner put the cuffs on so tightly that his wrists bled.

Gibbons fought the charges in court. The charges were dismissed Dec. 1, 2010.

On March 1, 2012, Gibbons was on his way home when Martin pulled him over on Wrightsboro Road. A police video shows Gibbons – who was on his cellphone with a 911 dispatcher asking for a sheriff’s deputy to be sent to the scene – as Martin yells for him to get off the phone and out of the car. Martin then reached through Gibbons’ driver side window and stunned him.

“Because Martin pulled the trigger five times in rapid succession beyond reasonable and expected use of the product, the wires melted. When the taser wires burned and fell apart, the tasing stopped,” according to the lawsuit.

Martin charged Gibbons with felony obstruction of an officer, contending that Gibbons caused Martin to tase himself. On July 11, a Richmond County Superior Court jury acquitted Gibbons.

During the trial, Martin repeated what he had written in his report: that he had stopped Gibbons because there was no tag on his vehicle. Martin admitted lying after defense attorney Victor Hawk played a recording of Mar­tin telling his dispatcher that he was pulling over a car with a paper tag.

The lawsuit alleges that GRU’s public safety leadership was deliberately indifferent to the fact that Martin had arrested Gibbons without cause in 2010. It also says Martin’s supervisors knew or should have known of his excessive use of the stun gun and of physical force.

Gibbons is seeking compensatory and punitive damages based on allegations of civil rights violations.

The university has 30 days to respond to the complaint.

Comments (35) Add comment
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JRC2024
8854
Points
JRC2024 03/01/14 - 08:07 am
13
2
Martin needs to go. He has no

Martin needs to go. He has no business in law enforcement and it sounds like he used his ability to stop the man out of meanness. Someone needs to take him to the woodshed and taser the h out of him.

Riverman1
83724
Points
Riverman1 03/01/14 - 08:26 am
14
1
OMG...The Same Guy

He's also tasered 24 people in 2 1/2 years. When I heard of the shooting, I didn't think the taser guy could possibly still be around. This is unbelievable. Open up your wallet GRU and start paying. I imagine there will be at least 23 more lawsuits coming.

just an opinion
2636
Points
just an opinion 03/01/14 - 10:31 pm
11
2
He averages 1 tasing per month

Who will it be this month? You on your way to your Dr.s appointment? He didn't tase anyone in February. (But he did shoot a dude).

ss30809
44
Points
ss30809 03/01/14 - 09:40 am
4
12
Tasing

Martin and other GRU Officers also patrol/staff the ED at Georgia Regents Medical Center, where many pt's come in unruly and combative due to medical conditions, drug use, etc. Sometimes tasing is warranted to avoid physical harm to these patients and other staff members. Tasing allows us healthcare staff members to quickly subdue combative/agitated patients in order to safely treat their medical needs (no one wants to inject a 300lb man with a needled-syringe when he's flailing around the room). This is why a tasing record for GRU may look higher than other law enforcement officers...I've known Martin for years, he's a good cop and does everything he can to avoid tasing/gun fire. Please avoid from posting comments about him that you wouldn't say to his face and especially if you don't know anything about him.

Riverman1
83724
Points
Riverman1 03/01/14 - 09:46 am
12
4
Tasing Patients Too?

"Tasing allows us healthcare staff members to quickly subdue combative/agitated patients in order to safely treat their medical needs (no one wants to inject a 300lb man with a needled-syringe when he's flailing around the room)."

If you are tasing patients as part of medical treatments, the lawsuits are growing in number. There are strict guidelines for sedating and restraining unruly patients. I don't believe tasing is in the treatment plan.

The Mick
827
Points
The Mick 03/01/14 - 09:46 am
11
2
Officer Martin's has used his

Officer Martin's has used his taser 24 times in 2 1/2 years, lied under oath, and has now shot a college student. I am very much pro law enforcement. I do not want their job and would not do it. But this guy is what gives the rest a bad name. With so man taser incidents and now a shooting, who is gonna hold the administration that keeps putting him on the street accountable? I guess when Mr. Gibbons gets in the pocket book of Dr. A somebody is gonna have a lot of splaining to do!!!!!!

Riverman1
83724
Points
Riverman1 03/01/14 - 09:53 am
10
3
Are University and Doctors Tasering Patients in ER?

I'm curious how many patients have been tasered in the University Hospital or Doctors emergency rooms?

just an opinion
2636
Points
just an opinion 03/02/14 - 05:59 pm
10
1
The guy was driving with a paper tag ...

on Wrightsboro Rd. The video shows one officer smiling during the event and when the victim asked for medical help because he was having chest pains after being tased five time, Martin says "I don't give a f..." . Major McBride, who is in charge of this department, has been painfully silent about this incident and the others as well. What's going on here? Retaliation permitted? Really? I'm 99% pro law enforcement.

nocnoc
42470
Points
nocnoc 03/01/14 - 10:14 am
6
1
Lawyers Striked while iron is hot

Comments here predicted this direction last year.

SPECULATION FOLLOWS
MCG/ASC decided to keep this guy on the force in a public enforcement role instead an admin position for probationary observation.

We can only guess at this point.
Where the lawyer is likely headed and likely will point out that the
officer tends to Tazer certain types of person over others.

Likely the Lawyer will bring up the Officer is loose cannon operating outside the law and in light of the facts brought out in a recent trial, MCG failed, in its Due Diligence to reassign the officer to a non-public threatening role.

Then next, point out the officer has recently shot a individual
under less than "clear" circumstances.

I Predict
MCG/ASC will take quick steps to seek an out of court settlement.
I am guessing around $250K and despite being State Agency will sign a Non-Disclosure Agree as to the award for all parties to keep the Public from knowing.

MCG/ASC suspend the officer for now and terminate him later as part of a deal.

An MCG/ASC will agree to conduct some re-training of MCG/ASC officers in the use of Tasers, Deadly force and minority sensitivity training classes.

MCG/ASC WILL DO THIS BECAUSE
Otherwise the Freshman Student Enrollment figures at ASC/MCG will
be impacted, because of the Stigma of a attending a college with a
aggressive police force with Civil Rights issues.

nocnoc
42470
Points
nocnoc 03/01/14 - 10:22 am
4
1
LillyfromtheMills
13231
Points
LillyfromtheMills 03/01/14 - 11:20 am
4
1
just an opinion
2636
Points
just an opinion 03/02/14 - 06:02 pm
9
1
WOW!

Did you hear Martin say he was about to shoot through the window? This cop needs to be in jail. I would not have opened the door either until help arrived !! Please please tell me Martin is not still on the street with a weapon. A civilian will be dead soon. I am 99% pro law-enforcement.

Sweet son
10372
Points
Sweet son 03/01/14 - 12:35 pm
10
1
What about his leader? Bill McBride

His name should be thrown around here too as an inadequate Chief!

happychimer
17498
Points
happychimer 03/01/14 - 01:36 pm
5
2
I could not watch even half

I could not watch even half of the video. That cop has no business having a taser or a gun. He is not a real man.

Esctab
891
Points
Esctab 03/01/14 - 01:55 pm
5
1
Tasering patients?

ss30809's explanation/comment about tasering patients makes for some interesting PR for GRU. I wonder if GRU included their stance on that policy/practice when they made their pitch for building a hospital in Columbia County. I would like to know how often the other hospitals in town find it necessary to taser patients. Curious what the JCAHO would have say about that approach too.

Kos
114
Points
Kos 03/01/14 - 03:54 pm
0
0
It seem like a trend in
Unpublished

It seem like a trend in United States for some reason white officers are more likely to used excessive force toward black motorist and white officers more likely to shot their gun a black motorist than white motorist. Something wrong with this picture and the Justice Department need to pay more attention to this bias excessive force used on a certain group of race. Just read the paper every other a day a white officers gunned a black motorist, the most recently one in South Carolina where the black driver reached for his cane and the officer thought he was reaching for a rifle and gunned him down. It's so shame to say.

pgapeach2
1175
Points
pgapeach2 03/01/14 - 05:00 pm
0
1
WOW!

SMDH!

Bizkit
31304
Points
Bizkit 03/01/14 - 05:29 pm
5
1
Great a psychopath with a

Great a psychopath with a badge. Martin needs to be fired immediately but he will probably pop up again just under arrest for something. That story is becoming too common place-maybe a psych exam for police?

Little Lamb
45870
Points
Little Lamb 03/01/14 - 05:39 pm
3
1
Tasing at the hospital

If tasing is a common occurrence at MCG, Grooo, and all the other names down there, then I suggest that Grooo institute a program that hardens the entrances and makes it difficult for everyone except ambulances to get in. Unruly, combative, psychotic, schizophrenic people should not be allowed to walk into those buildings without being observed, screened, and buzzed in by the screener.

What's so hard about that idea?

Grandpa Jones
1050
Points
Grandpa Jones 03/01/14 - 05:41 pm
4
3
GRU is immune from any lawsuits...

In 1981, the Georgia constitution was amended to provide sovereign immunity to all state agencies. Gilbert v. Richardson, 264 Ga. 744, 750 (1994).

Riverman1
83724
Points
Riverman1 03/01/14 - 05:41 pm
7
1
Life Threatening

There should be an investigation to determine if patients have actually been tased in the GR emergency room as the commenter said. This is another mega wrong doing with life threatening consequences. Is ANYONE at GRU reading?

Grandpa Jones
1050
Points
Grandpa Jones 03/01/14 - 05:42 pm
4
1
But Officer Martin is another story....

Official immunity offers “limited protection from suit to governmental officers and employees.” . In 1990, the Georgia Constitution was amended to provide that state employees may not be sued for negligence in the performance of their official functions unless they act with actual malice. Ga. Const., Art., I & II, ¶ IX(d) (1998).

burninater
9580
Points
burninater 03/01/14 - 06:07 pm
8
2
"I've known Martin for years,

"I've known Martin for years, he's a good cop and does everything he can to avoid tasing/gun fire. Please avoid from posting comments about him that you wouldn't say to his face and especially if you don't know anything about him."
------
NO. A "good cop" does not LIE on a police report, or under oath, when another man's freedom and criminal record are at stake. A "good cop" does not use potentially lethal force arbitrarily, as shown in the tasing incident. It is possible the shooting incident was an arbitrary use of force as well -- did other officers witness the shooting circumstances? Martin already has a record of false statements in official documents and proceedings -- his report of events that night have no credibility.

This is not a "good cop". In the way he has been shown to behave, it currently looks as though he may not even be a "good man".

But you're right, I wouldn't say it to his face, but only because based on past behavior he'd possibly shoot and/or tase me repeatedly and then lie about it.

The lying in court is mind-boggling to me -- how the heck can a law enforcement officer retain his/her position after being shown to have presented false evidence? That should be grounds for immediate termination, and the individual should be barred from holding a law enforcement position ever again.

gargoyle
16937
Points
gargoyle 03/01/14 - 06:15 pm
6
1
How was Mr. Gibbons

How was Mr. Gibbons endangering the safety personnel or patients on GRU Campus driving a car on Wrightsboro Rd with paper tags , and should that warranted the extreme response.

fedex227
11187
Points
fedex227 03/01/14 - 06:19 pm
5
1
Not just 'tase' you burninater ...
Unpublished

(from the article) ... tase you until the "wires melt." Dang.

The Mick
827
Points
The Mick 03/02/14 - 01:31 pm
2
2
I

I

burninater
9580
Points
burninater 03/01/14 - 07:06 pm
4
1
The Mick, I think you mixed

The Mick, I think you mixed up who said what in the posts today ...

The start of my post is quoting ss30809 ... If you read the rest of my post, you'll see that I completely disagree with him/her.

corgimom
32221
Points
corgimom 03/01/14 - 07:31 pm
1
4
All I know is that one night

All I know is that one night I was in the University ER, there was a prisoner in the bed next to mine, and he said he was going to kill himself- so they immediately stopped treatment and got ready to ship him off to Georgia Regional. He didn't want to go to Georgia Regional, they told him he had no choice.

He went crazy- jumped up off the gurney, started fighting, started slinging equipment- and yes, if there had been tazers then, yes, he should've been tazed.

I've seen it.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 03/01/14 - 07:39 pm
0
0
Based on y'alls
Unpublished

conviction of officer Martin, I say go ahead and execute him.

The Mick
827
Points
The Mick 03/01/14 - 07:41 pm
2
1
Burninator I apologize.

Burninator I apologize. ss30809 quote stirred me up. I really could not read further! Again I apologize.

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