Should an officer stop a man on the interstate with a Taser? Experts weigh in

Questions surround taser use during chase

DALLAS -- Camera after camera captured a theft suspect driving the wrong way on busy North Texas highways, dodging cars and eluding police Tuesday afternoon.

Twenty-four hours later, two suspects connected to the case had been transferred from Garland to the Dallas County Jail. They are Jimmy Wheeler and Clinton Lang, Jr.

Police say Lang is the man who led them on a chase. He is being held on $1,000 bond for a theft charge, and $100,000 for evading arrest.

Wheeler has a long rap sheet and was wanted on previous cases of theft. He is being held on $50,000 for theft charges.

The chase ended with a moment that had many people talking on social media.

Police say Lang jumped out of his Ford F-150, ran across several lanes of traffic, and jumped a median, before a Rockwall County Sheriff’s deputy used a Taser on him.

Lang fell into a lane of traffic, where a car appeared to swerve to avoid him.


Hundreds have commented on the WFAA Facebook page. Some believe the deputy saved Lang’s life, because he could have been hit by oncoming traffic if he continued to run across the interstate.
Others believe the deputy put Lang’s life in danger, because he fell across a lane of traffic after he was subdued.

News 8 turned to the experts for answers.

Robert Caltabiano recently retired the Secret Service as a special agent in charge after nearly 30 years in law enforcement. He says the video shows the exact moment when the deputy decides to use the Taser.

The deputy raised his arm to deploy the Taser when both he and Lang appear to be within the shoulders on the side of the road. Lang then falls into a lane of traffic after the Taser is deployed.

Caltabiano believes the deputy may have saved Lang’s life.

“In less than a second-and-a-half, his instincts come in, his training comes in to try and stop this individual,” Caltabiano said. “Do you really believe this man could have made it across the highway without this man hurting himself, or without having a major backlog or jam of people hitting each other and having somebody else hurt?”


Jeff Halstead is a former Fort Worth police chief who now consults for companies, including Taser. He spoke to use over the phone because he was out of state.

He said the use of the Taser in this case was completely justifiable and reasonable because the suspect was a danger to himself and others, and was not in traffic when the deputy decided to use the Taser, but represents a serious training issue, because by the time the probe hit Lang, he was in a lane of traffic.


News 8 reviewed the Rockwall County Sheriff’s Office’s policy on deploying Tasers.

It says Tasers should not be used if “a subject is in a position where a fall may cause substantial injury or death, unless deadly force is the only other option.”

According to the policy, “Deputies are authorized to use the Taser" under the following conditions:

a. To control a dangerous or violent individual when deadly force does not appear to be justified and/or necessary.

b. If attempts to subdue the individual by other conventional tactics have been, or will likely be ineffective in the situation at hand.

c. If there is reasonable expectation that it will be unsafe for deputies to approach within contact range of the individual and that said approach would likely result in injury

The Rockwall County Sheriff’s Office declined to name the deputy who used the Taser, and did not want to speak on camera until they are finished reviewing the incident, which could be late this week or early next week.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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