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back to article Washington cop tases naked lawn sex man

A Washington cop tased a semi-naked man who took umbrage at being interrupted during some al fresco nookie in the Pacific Northwest state on Tuesday morning. The deputy happened upon the 21-year-old Patrick Bergin and his paramour at 2am while responding to a complaint about loud music. The pair were allegedly having sex outside …

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Happy

Playmobil?

please

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Somewhat excessive force

...for someone ploughing his garden and sowing some seeds. Too bad the over-zealous officer didn't zap him mid-coitus, then he could have got two for the price of one.

Joking aside though, what on earth was the naked guy going to smack the dressed and fully armed police officer with that warranted a double hit of electric justice?

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Gold badge

well..

.. As details are omitted, I guess the man must have been threateningly impressive in the (removed) trouser department.

So he got probably tasered out of jealousy.

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third degree assault?

for what exactly? the report doesnt mention any assault unless you count "touching a police officer's taser". Am i missing something?

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Flame

Any resistance to cop is "assault"

Even looking at His Mirroshades-Clad Highness cross-eyed.

Incidentally, this story shows why "ID" is a Bad Idea.

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Assault?

What did he assault? The Taser?

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IR

You're welcome

To be fair, it was the only day in Yelm without rain for the last month (or at least felt like it). Maybe their back garden was waterlogged like mine.

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Happy

I think it's a new offence...

Assault with a friendly weapon.

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Stop

Assault??

I can't see any evidence of the bloke assaulting anyone. Unless he was assaulting the woman who was also at the crime scene. In which case, I assume, she would have ran to the deputy screaming for assistance.

Perhaps the 'assailant' was behaving aggressively and the deputy panicked.... Still not actual assault though, is it. Or is it??

Looks like a(nother) trigger-happy cop to me.

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Not the only one

Another report on todays BBC, another Washington state cop videod punching a woman in the face for arguing that he shouldn't be putting a different woman in handcuffs for the dangerous activitiy of 'jay walking'. I assume that brutality is the modern 'democratic policing' the Americans are attempting to impose around the world.

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Bronze badge

Tarry Pratchett's [Making Money] describes assault more or less as

any situation that displeases a police officer, except for being absent when wanted, since it's hard to make assault stick in that circumstance.

Having said that, I don't think there's a reasonable firm line between aggressive or threatening behaviour without physical contact, and assault. For instance if someone pulls out a knife - again, yes, from where -

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Gold badge

Where? Well, there..

Given what I saw Jonathan Ross display what was, umm, dug out of an inmate (when part of what he stored started to ring, I leave the mental image up to you), I think there is scope for adding a knife (sheathed).

Having said that, maybe not. A nookie with that, ahem, "payload" would be somewhat on the sharp end, if you catch my drift.

I'll be here all week at this rate, but there's one thing I'd like to add: tasering someone is like running them over with a barbed wire whip, it only leaves less traces. That's why cops like it - a truncheon leaves telltale signs of excessive force, whereas nobody has an idea what it feels like unless they have done it to themselves. Personally, I think it needs extremely careful monitoring under what circumstances it is used, and abuse should be rewarded like for like.

So that would be two taserings, in the gonads?

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Coat

I bet

it was a shocking experience!

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Anonymous Coward

Assault does not require touching

Assault is not battery. One can assault via various means, including voice, mannerisms, visual, etc., so yes as described the man on man action could have constituted an assault. Not likely a battery, though (assuming an average cudgel).

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WTF?

@Somewhat excessive force

Seems to me plod is too ready to deploy such weaponry on the 'shoot first, ask questions later' basis, especially as it's 'non-lethal' (allegedly).

They won't get into as much trouble for mistakenly rendering severe pain and disorientation as opposed to death... (with a real gun).

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Big Brother

Follow the wire to the handset...

I know *nothing* about the cop in question, and it seems like the guy probably did get aggressive. I might get bent out of shape too, if so rudely interrupted. Questions of whether the cop had any business questioning them and possible assault of the cop aside, there is a general trend I have noted. For any questionable tasing, follow the wire to the handset, and find an out of shape, overweight cop; it is surprising how often it works. Anyone who thinks their "time in the hundred" refers to a burger eating contest they won has no business in law enforcement. The potentially lethal taser should not be used as a alternative to physical fitness on the part of our civil servants.

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Coat

I bet that made him spill...

the beans?

Mine's the one with slight stain.

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WTF?

ID?

Since when do residents of Washington have a legal requirement to carry or produce ID (except when engaged in activities like driving)? If the cop saw open containers of alcohol, perhaps he was looking for proof-of-age; but something smells fishy...

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Silver badge

Copper's mind. Episode 1

?...These damned gangstas, making me go looking for them at 2:00am in the morning... I'll be the laughing stock at the precinct tomorrow - all for telling someone to turn down the volume on their ghettoblaster...

oh, wait!

Just look at that! Are they screwing or what? Oh, isn't that right! That changes EVERYTHING!

This will be the story of the month and I will be telling it to EVERYONE! Eat your heart out, Sgt Rifkind!

Wait, wait, wait, fella - you are not threatening me with that dongle of yours, are you? Or, please tell me you are! Please! Oh YES! You are!

<Pop! Zzzzz-zzzz-zzzz!>

Oh, high-impedance skin? No problem! Double the tasing - triple the bragging rights!

<Pop! Zzzzz-zzzz-zzzz!>

I'm a genious!

Naked perp, assault with a todger, double tasing - this was absolutely priceless!

Now, mister, will you turn down the volume please."

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ID Required?

They were committing several low level crimes. Any police officer will demand an ID in this situation. At least in PA they will. Even jaywalking requires you to show ID.

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Boffin

ID NOT required in either PA or WA

The police officer may have demanded an ID in this situation, but likely the two lovebirds were not legally obligated to provide ID. Washington isn't one of the 24 states that has a “stop and identify” statute (nor is PA, FYI); so unless Yelm has such a statute, the Supreme Court holds that persons are not obligated to identify themselves when detained by police. Additionally, there is no law in the USA requiring citizens to carry identification of any kind ("stop and identify" statutes require a person detained to identify himself to a police officer, and in some cases, provide additional information, not to carry or provide ID documents).

Of course, none of that has much bearing on whether or not sticking up for your rights in an encounter with the cops is worth the aggravation...

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Coat

Sorry to disagree with some...

But from the link, I think the cop did the right thing.

(Coul'd have videoed it first, then "do a Manning" and popped it on xhamster, but perchance he was afraid the "whistlebower's whistleblower' Lamo would shop him...)

Mine's the dirty mac.

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What they really need

is training in defusing a volatile situation. Of course I doubt many plods give a crap about this, but it is still what would best serve the role of the police in society.

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Big Brother

@Assault does not require touching

@Assault does not require touching

QUOTE

including voice, mannerisms, visual

/ENDQUOTE

Welcome to 1984. You must be one of the nazis that think that the freedom of speech should be repelled^H^H^H redacted from the constitution.

imho this is one of the cases that ACLU should take on and sue the s***t out of that city and their inept police department.

That officer was supposed to be responding to a complaint about noise from INSIDE a house, not outside it.

Without probable cause, or at least reasonable suspicion to believe a crime IS being committed, there's no legality to "investigate" two people on the PRIVATE lawn having sex. Cops have no right to go onto private property and check IDs, even less to shoot you with a taser for not providing ID while being on that PRIVATE property.

also, please read the news about the lawsuits that ACLU has already brought:

quote:

"Unfortunately many police departments in the commonwealth do not seem to be getting the message that swearing is not a crime," said ACLU lawyer Marieke Tuthill. "The courts have repeatedly found that profanity, unlike obscenity, is protected speech. We will continue bringing lawsuits until this illegal practice is stopped."

/quote

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/20100513_ACLU_defends_right_to_swear_in_Pa_.html

http://www.aclu.org/free-speech/aclu-pa-sues-police-over-citations-profanity

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Anonymous Coward

True that: Assault does not require touching by Nazi or other

Don't be stupid, AC: the legal definition of "assault" does not require touching, unlike battery. One can in fact be assaulted by offensive language, extremely loud sounds, and the like, as long as there's some evidence to support a fear of personal harm. It's not a Nazi concept, nor Orwellian. The definition has nothing to do with 1984 and free speech, so the critique is worthless (while devaluing free speech) as long as distinct concepts are confused by armchair Perry Masons.

Also, for clarity one should recognize the difference between a tort (civil assault) and crime. It could be civil, or both civil or criminal. It could also be an enhanced violation involving assault against a police officer (under these facts, as reported, hard to predict such a verdict, but the potential evidence may be there to support a charge).

Re: "@Assault does not require touching

QUOTE

including voice, mannerisms, visual

/ENDQUOTE

Welcome to 1984. You must be one of the nazis that think that the freedom of speech should be repelled^H^H^H redacted from the constitution.

imho this is one of the cases that ACLU should take on and sue the s***t out of that city and their inept police department."

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sheesh, people...

US law clearly makes it just perfectly fine for cops to tazer people who shout and swear at them.

If you have a problem with that I suggest you stop spraying spittle at your computer screens and instead emigrate to somewhere civilized like Finland, where you have can be butt-naked on your front lawn without having to worry about stormtroopers attacking you.

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Patrick Bergin?

Wasn't he in Patriot Games?

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Grenade

I dig pig....

You mean the cop just HAD to interrupt two people having a fuck, just to ask them for ID? And then tazered one of them..... Good one idiot.

If the clot had any sense he should have just ignored them and gone to the front door and asked for the music to be turned down and left it at that.

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Silver badge

So what exactly *is* assault, then?

According to my COED, assault is "a violent attack" or (the legal definition) "an act that threatens physical harm to a person, whether or not actual harm is done".

Don't you just love lawyers? Under that second definition (and of course IANAL and the COED only attempts even to precis British law) the question of whether an assault has taken place becomes thoroughly subjective. Just look at the ambiguous language: "an act that threatens..." That's quite an abstract idea, especially the suggestion that an act (as such) can threaten anything. It would be far clearer and more objective to state exactly who thinks he is threatened, and why.

If I were paranoid enough to feel threatened by a lot of things, someone asking me the time of day would be an assault, would it? Oh no, I hear you cry, because the law goes by what a "reasonable" person would think. And of course all police officers are reasonable...

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Boffin

The definition of assault...

... is from old English jusrisprudence, and goes back hundreds of years. It does not require anything more than an "apprehension of immediate force". One of the cases we learn in law school is Tuberville v Savage from 1669, so this isn't new law, nor lawyers making things complicated - the language has shifted so that the common use of the word "assault" has come to mean an actual attack, whereas that is, at least, a battery.

I hate the way that lawyers twist words so that they are unrecognisable to the ordinary person, but this isn't one of those cases (though it is about time that the law recognised the change and came up to date - but we only lost the Latin a decade ago, so there are a few hundred years to go before it happens!)

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Bronze badge

Americans have been prosecuted for GROWING their lawn

if it's longer than the local home owner association likes.

And apparently the front lawn (of the home) doesn't count as "home invasion". Or an illegal search.

Of course no offence would be committed if they parked a car on the lawn... and there's enough room underneath an SUV, -

ID, hmm, "What was your name again honey?"

The other day I read an anecdote attributed to the actress and sig!nger Beatrice Lillie. "Noel [Coward] and I were in Paris once. Adjoining rooms, of course. One night, I felt mischievous, so I knocked on Noel's door, and he asked, 'Who is it?' I lowered my voice and said 'Hotel detective. Have you got a gentleman in your room?' He answered, 'Just a minute, I'll ask him.'"

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Alert

Policeman, more like lazy corporate thug.

The naked bloke should sue the corporate thug for infringement of freedom of speech, trespass, and assault and battery, put a lien on the officer and his employer, and sue the complainer for slander, for all the hurt and damage they caused!

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FAIL

I understand the rozzers dilema.....

A man comes towards you with a loaded spam truncheon and doesn't take an instruction to 'get that weapon away from me...', if he's not stepping backwards and I had an electric persuader he'd be tasting the volts there & then.

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@ Robert Carnegie

Show me were in America some has been prosecuted for growing their lawn higher than the HOA allows . They can sue you civilly , but no criminal prosecution.

As for why the cop zapped the guy,drunk guy didnt comply with orders .

Now for not showing ID. You folks are right. In that state he is not required to show ID, but since a crime was being committed the police have a right to ID you . If they can not they can hold you till such time as they can ID you .

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