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2 Former Police Officers To Be Sentenced In Controversial Taser Case

Two former Marion, South Carolina police officers will be sentenced Monday for shocking a mentally disabled woman at least eight times with a Taser without giving her further orders. Both Eric Walters and Franklin Brown will be sentenced on federal charges Monday. The two former small town police officers pleaded guilty to deprivation of rights under color of law in October.

Walters was patrolling early in the morning in April 2013 when he saw 40-year-old Melissa Davis walking out of the yard of a home for sale, the Star Tribune reported. He asked her what she was doing, thinking she may have broken into the home, then shocked her with his Taser, according to court documents.

police officers

Left: Franklin Brown, Right: Eric Walters. Source: Marion County Detention Center.

After Davis fell to the ground, Walters ordered her to put her hands behind her back, then shocked her four additional times before she could respond, prosecutors said.

By the time Brown responded, Walters had determined Davis hadn’t done anything wrong and was removing the Taser probes from her back. Brown noticed one of Davis’ hands had slipped from her improperly applied handcuffs and ordered everyone to back away and shocked Davis again, even though she was not trying to fight or escape, according to the court documents.

Brown shocked Davis twice more, then offered to let her go if he could shoot her in the forehead one last time with his Taser, prosecutors said.

Brown told the other officers at the scene that he had shot Davis with the Taser because he “did not want to touch that nasty (obscenity),” according to his plea agreement.

Both police officers are white. Court records did not indicate Davis’ race.

Prosecutors said they agree with federal sentencing guidelines that ask for 12 to 18 months behind bars for Walters and 18 to 24 months for Brown. The guidelines for Brown are tougher because Davis was in a vulnerable state when he shocked her.

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