Ohio’s Franklin County sheriff’s office has used stun guns in an “excessive, cruel and inhumane” fashion that deprives prisoners of their constitutional rights, the U.S. Department of Justice said in joining a lawsuit reported by the Columbus Dispatch. The U.S. entered a case filed in July by people who say they were shocked in a “callous and sadistic manner” by deputy sheriffs.
A woman, 24, allegedly was stunned four times after she objected to being forcibly strip-searched with male officers present. She had been arrested for driving without a license. Another woman who told guards she was pregnant was reportedly stunned after being unable to remove a tongue ring because her hands were slippery. Officers refused her requests for a paper towel until after using a Taser on her. The sheriff’s office argues in court documents that deputies’ stun-gun use “did not constitute excessive force.”