Court: Using taser on drunk Fairmont State student OK

By John O'Brien | Sep 5, 2013

CHARLESTON – The state Supreme Court has ruled against a Fairmont State University student who was drunk when he allegedly sustained injuries while being chased by Fairmont police officers.

In a memorandum decision filed Aug. 30, the court ruled against Nicholas Ray Bryant in his lawsuit against the City of Fairmont. The court ruled Bryant did not introduce evidence necessary to prove his claim that the officers owed him a duty of care or that they breached that duty.

“Petitioner asserts that his own testimony was sufficient to establish the duty,” the decision says.

“However, the record reveals that petitioner merely recounted his recollection of the incident, and admitted he was inebriated at the time of the incident, making his recollection questionable.

“Additionally, we agree with respondent that police pursuit methods and the proper usage ofa taser are not matters of common knowledge and must be addressed by witnesses who have a background and understanding of such matters.”

On Nov. 19, 2010, Bryant was walking along Locust Ave. in Fairmont to his dorm room. Officers observed him walking unsteadily and placing a trash can in the middle of the street.

The officers accelerated towards him in their police cars, which were parked across the street from Bryant.

Bryant says he did not know the cars were cop cars, so he began running. He says that as he jumped from a retaining wall, he was shot in the back with a taser.

Police say he was shot with the taser after he already landed.

Bryant alleged that his body and limbs were paralyzed by the taser and he landed awkwardly, suffering injuries.

At the close of his case, Fairmont moved for a directed verdict, which was granted Aug. 31, 2012. The court ruled Bryant was required to prove the officers had a duty of care to him and breached it and that there was no evidence offered as to the standard of care required with the use of a taser.

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