Appeal of former inmate tased by officer tossed

Published 7:16 am Wednesday, October 19, 2022

The appeal of a former Leesville inmate who claimed he was tased 25 seconds too long while officers stopped him from strangling himself in a now-dismissed case has been tossed out by the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal with prejudice.

Anthony Jo Edwards admits that during his Feb. 2, 2019, arrest he wrapped his shoestrings around his neck during his booking process into the city jail. He said an officer on site saw the act and ultimately committed second-degree battery on him while assisting others in removing the shoelaces from his neck.

Edwards claimed the officer used a taser “in excess of 30 seconds, which should be confirmed in the use of force and taser reports, as more than 25 seconds longer than the recommended tase length.”

He called the officer’s response “a crime of violence.”

The officer’s actions also prevented him from harming himself, Edwards claimed in his 2021 suit, which named the city of Leesville through Mayor Rick Allen as the employer of the officer.

In their response to the suit, the city and the officer argued they were faced with “an untenable situation.”

“Had they stood idly by and let Edwards choke himself to death they and the city would have surely faced a claim for inadequate care,” they stated in their filing. “Because they intervened, they face an excessive force lawsuit.”

They also cited that between the tasing on Feb. 2, 2019, and the filing of Edwards’ petition on Feb. 1, 2021, he had at least one additional arrest for drug and weapons charges.

When the trial court dismissed Edwards’ suit, they concluded “excessive force” is not synonymous or interchangeable with a “crime of violence.” They also cited Edwards’ failure to file his claim within the applicable one-year prescriptive period.

The 3rd Court of Appeal agreed and stated all costs of the appeal were to be assessed to Edwards.