Cop on Leave for Not Tasering Suicidal Student
Other officers on the scene at CSU say his refusal was a 'failure to act'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2014 12:32 PM CST
In this Aug. 16, 2007, file photo, Police Chief John Martin demonstrates a Taser in Brattleboro, Vt.    (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

(Newser) – As debate continues about whether excessive police force was used against unarmed men, one California officer has come under fire for the opposite reason: not Tasering an unarmed man. The California State University-Monterey Bay cop is on paid leave after refusing to stun-gun a student who was reportedly suicidal, which prompted three Marina officers also on the scene to file a "failure to act" complaint, KSBW reports. Jeff Solomon, the president of the union that reps CSU police, says the 20-year CSUMB police veteran feared for the student's safety and had de-escalated the scene so that such force wasn't warranted; the Marina officers say he "froze" as they tried to restrain the "non-compliant" student, who wasn't currently armed, though a bloody knife was on the floor, reports the Salinas Californian.

Marina Police Chief Edmundo Rodriguez claims his officers walked into a chaotic scene in February after the CSUMB officer called for backup. "We saw blood everywhere," he says. (Solomon says the student's cuts were superficial and his officer had everything under control.) Rodriguez says the CSUMB officer left the room to "take or make a phone call"; Solomon contends he left to get the distraught student some water and that when he came back, the others were struggling with the student and Tasering him. When they requested the CSUMB officer help by firing his own stun gun, he refused, Solomon says. The CSUMB officer complained to the Marina sergeant about what had happened; the Marina "failure to act" complaint was filed soon after that. "We have an officer who showed incredible restraint in a very difficult situation," Solomon says. "[He] did everything right and he's not being supported."