Man to keep fighting to change Durham police force policy
Posted December 17, 2014
Durham, N.C. — Despite losing again in court this week, a man plans to continue his legal battle to get the Durham Police Department to change its use-of-force policy.
Bryan DeBaun, who was injured when a police officer used a stun gun on him in July 2009, contends the department’s policy is unconstitutional and dangerous.
DeBaun sued the department for damages, saying surgery to repair broken facial bones and treatment for broken teeth – he fell face first on a sidewalk after he was stunned – exceeded $30,000. The case was thrown out in District Court, and the state Court of Appeals ruled the officer correctly followed Durham's use-of-force policy.
After the state Supreme Court asked the Court of Appeals to take another look at the case, the court came to the same conclusion on Tuesday.
Attorney Alex Charns said Wednesday that the case would be appealed to the Supreme Court again.
"What we are going to ask the Supreme Court of North Carolina to do is take the constitution of North Carolina and give it meaning again. Blow it up to real life. Make it that great tapestry it was before this Court of Appeals decision," Charns said.
One of the problems with the force policy, he said, is that it places use of a stun gun above closed-hand contact in the list of allowable responses by officers in dealing with people resisting them.
Police department officials declined to comment, referring questions to Durham's city attorney, who couldn't be reached for comment.