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Judge rips Iowa police chief for using stun gun on partiers

FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Iowa Department of Public Safety shows...
FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Iowa Department of Public Safety shows Armstrong, Iowa, police chief Craig Merrill. Judge Nancy Whittenburg recently rejected arguments by Merrill that his deployment of the Taser device in an off-duty, social setting against voluntary participants was not a criminal act. "Merrill did not have justification to use a defensive weapon with the intent to cause pain for entertainment purposes on compliant partygoers," Whittenburg wrote in a ruling dated Thursday, May 27, 2021. Merrill was charged in February with two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon for using the stun gun against Armstrong’s then-maintenance director Tylor Evans and several others who attended parties at Merrill’s home in April and July 2016. (Iowa Department of Public Safety via AP, file)(Associated Press)
Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 12:37 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A judge has condemned an Iowa police chief for using his city-issued stun gun to shock guests at two parties in 2016, calling it an “immoral activity” that could have caused serious injuries or death.

Judge Nancy Whittenburg recently rejected Armstrong, Iowa police chief Craig Merrill’s arguments that his deployment of the Taser device in an off-duty, social setting against voluntary participants was not a crime.

She wrote that he did not have any justification to use the weapon for entertainment purposes, and that he’s lucky no one suffered a medical emergency.

Merrill is charged with two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon and other counts as part of a wide-ranging corruption investigation in which Armstrong’s former mayor and three others face charges.

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