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Police negligence leads to disabling brain and eye injury

Most people in Tennessee have an expectation that members of law enforcement receive extensive training when it comes to their equipment. We expect that they have been properly trained on how to use their equipment and are familiar with the safety risks it poses. But when a negligent mistake is made by an officer and a civilian is injured or disabled because of that mistake, it can make people rethink this assumption.

This seems to be the situation being addressed right now in a U.S. district court room where a woman is seeking compensation because of the physical injuries she received due to a police officer’s negligence. She suffered the injuries during a field sobriety test in 2012 when an officer, who claims that she was resisting arrest, fired a pepper-spray device at the woman’s face. She contends that the officer’s improper use of the pepper spray resulted in eye damage and a traumatic brain injury.

The reason her injuries were so catastrophic were because of the type of device the officer used. Reports indicate that the officer was using a JPX pepper gun. According to the manufacturer’s website, this type of pepper-spray device propels liquid at 405 mph, which can cause serious injury if fired too close to a person. The manufacturer even warns users not to fire the JPX at a person’s face at close range and suggests a minimum safe distance of five feet. But the woman claims that the officer fired the device mere inches from her face, which caused her to cry out in pain and bleed from her nose and mouth.

Instead of working her full-time job as a supervisor, she says she now receives full-time care and ongoing treatment for her disabling injuries. This means that she is not only accruing expensive medical bills but losing income as well. Although she might qualify for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration, she may wait to file her claim until after the courts rule on her case. She may apply for benefits at a later time though.

Source: Courthouse News, “Pepper-Spray Brutality May Leave Cops Liable,” Elizabeth Warmerdam, Mar. 5, 2014

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