Judge throws out excessive force claim in 2009 shooting on Jackson

After a traffic stop in a 20th and Jackson parking lot escalated in July 2009, Demetrius James tried to exit the parking lot in a vehicle. Police officers hit him with a Taser through the driver’s side window and, after the car started moving forward, shot him in the hand.

James pleaded guilty of assault in the incident, but he also filed a lawsuit alleging that officers used excessive force in the arrest. But the courts have now thrown out the claims, saying that the officers were justified for both using the Taser and for shooting James in the hand, the P.I. reports.

James claimed he lost control of the vehicle when he was hit with the electric volt from the Taser. The vehicle moved onto Jackson, but the occupants bailed and fled on foot. The car rolled down the hill before colliding with a police cruiser. A professional piano player, James’ wrist was shattered by one of the shots, rendering it too stiff to play. He was seeking $15 million in damages.

Police stopped James and the two other occupants because they suspected the car was stolen. It was not.

Dashboard video of the incident shows how the incident went down:


12 thoughts on “Judge throws out excessive force claim in 2009 shooting on Jackson

  1. Hopefully Mr. James won’t cost us any more trouble and money. We don’t want jerks like that guy in the neighborhood.

  2. I know! I define jerks as black people minding their own business. Why can’t he accept the facts that he is black and should not be sitting in a car 4-deep. Do you want our fair and honest police force to THINK you stole that car? DO YOU?

  3. I’m not familiar with this case, but I’m guessing from the video that the cop’s defense was that he thought the guy was going to run him over.

    I can understand that the judge might not want to second guess a cop’s judgement, and the guy was frankly stupid for trying to flee when he hadn’t done anything wrong, but I’ve been hit by cars moving faster than he was going when the cop started firing, and I walked away with no injuries. It doesn’t seem to me that lethal force was required in that moment. There’s a reason the Seattle PD is under federal investigation, and this case is a perfect example.

  4. He ignored the three things any person, male, female, any color, that is learned at an early age. It is a comming of age, usually at the time underage drinking becomes part of your youthful indiscrection.
    Never run from a cop, never argue with a cop and never hit a cop. Obviously they never learnd this.

  5. It’s a traffic stop. You can’t just drive away. Doing so is extremely reckless at best. It is fleeing from justice and one must find out why. The police have no choice but to stop the person before the recklessness turns into a chase and people get run over.

    How hard could it have been for James to ack like a civilized human being and allow the police to complete their business. We need more action from the police to investigate suspected criminals that make the CD much uglier than it should be.

  6. I’ve been stopped by cops before, for reasons that I thought were stupid and unjustified. I’ve sat fuming in the car and stifled the urge to mouth off to the cop, no matter how ridiculous. Never once have I thought of speeding off and ignoring the cop– how stupid would you have to be, to think that’s OK?

    This guy was an idiot. With all the talk these days about racial profiling (let’s be real, it does happen)– if this guy is black, it’s not like he doesn’t know it. He knows that makes him MORE likely to be a victim of profiling, right? Which should FURTHER DISCOURAGE him from doing something stupid like trying to flee. Duh. Basically, this shows a lack of respect for the police and whether you think they deserve it or not is immaterial. If the car wasn’t stolen, that would’ve been apparent within a few minutes. But he thought he was too big a man to just wait.

    I really wish people would stop making excuses for stupid people. If I tried to flee I’d expect to get tasered and shot too.

  7. True that Jim. I’ve been hassled by over zealous cops. We know they are out there and it is undebatable that black men draw unbalanced attention from cops. For some valid and some invalid reasons. Still, only and idiot thinks you can just drive away. An idiot and most likely a criminal.

  8. Oh booo hooo. Nonsense about getting hassled more. Stop. Stay in the Car. Keep your hands insight. Silly weaners.

  9. Driving a car with mismatched plates, failing to stop for the police, failing to heed a lawful order, resisting arrest, attempting to escape, attempting to murder a police officer, and possibley starting a chase that could have killed uninvolved citizens. He is lucky he got off with a shot on the wrist. This was a justified stop, arrest, and shooting. It had nothing to do with race, it has to do with the criminal behavior of Demetrius James.

    “but I’ve been hit by cars moving faster than he was going when the cop started firing, and I walked away with no injuries. It doesn’t seem to me that lethal force was required in that moment.”

    A moving vehicle is always lethal force, just because you walked away from a 5 mph collision doesn’t mean everyone will. It takes very little speed for a 2 ton object to do serious damage to a human body. This case was a textbook example of the proper use of deadly force, aside from the officers poor aim.