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Business Law Case

Essay by   •  April 26, 2013  •  Essay  •  1,149 Words (5 Pages)  •  905 Views

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11/4/12

On October 27, 2002, Madera City Police officers arrested Everardo and Erica Mejia after a noise complaint relating to loud music was made. Everardo and Erica were handcuffed and placed in the back of a police car. Everardo fell asleep about thirty to forty five minutes after being placed in the car, and during that time his wife, Erica, was removed from the car and replaced with another arrestee. Everardo awoke soon after and started to throw a fit, yelling and kicking the rear car door. Officers were unclear as to whether he was yelling "Get me out of the car" or whether he was simply yelling that his handcuffs were too tight.

Officer Noriega was standing a few feet behind the patrol car when she heard Everardo yelling. She told her fellow officers that whoever is closest should tase Everardo so he doesn't hurt himself by kicking through the glass window. Officer Noriega was the closest so she approached the car door and opened it with her left hand while reaching with her right hand to her right side holster to get her Taser. Instead, she unsnapped her Glock holster, aimed the weapon at Everardo's center mass, put her left hand under the gun, and pulled the trigger, all without looking at what she was holding. Earlier that day she had turned off the safety on her Taser, enabling her to use it more quickly. The parties agree that Officer Noriega had intended to reach for her Taser. It was in a thigh holster immediately below where her Glock was, both of which were on her right side. She had intended to use her Taser in dart-tase rather than touch-tase mode. Everardo died later that evening from his wound.

This was not the first time Officer Noriega mistakenly drew the wrong weapon, though never before with such dire consequences. About a month and a half after she was first issued her Taser she accidently placed her Glock into her Taser holster, only realizing her mistake when it did not fit correctly in the wrong holster. After her mistake she notified her sergeant, Sergeant Lawson, who instructed her to practice putting the correct weapon in the correct holster and practice drawing them. She practiced doing this daily, both before work and during downtime throughout her shifts.

About one week after she first confused her Glock and her Taser she confused them again, this time on a field call. She went to touch-tase a kicking and fighting suspect who refused to get into a police car. Instead of pulling out her Taser, she accidently took out her Glock. She only noticed her mistake when she tried unsuccessfully to remove the cartridge, which would have been present on her Taser, but would not have been on a Glock. By the time she realized the Glock was pulled rather than the Taser, the Glock was pointing at her partners head. Frightened that she could have potentially killed her partner, she again went to Sergeant Lawson and explained the situation again. He responded by again telling her to continue practicing drawing and holstering her Taser and Glock. Officer Noriega continued practicing this for the next nine months until the incident with Everardo Mejia. Between that time, she continued to practice daily drawing and holstering each weapon, and never until that day did she mistake them.

After Everardo's death, his parents, Maria and Melchor Torres, made a case

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