Wrongful death • A wrongful death lawsuit against a Hurricane officer, the city police chief and the city has been settled by the family of Brian Layton Cardall, who died in 2009 after a Hurricane officer shocked him twice with a Taser. The U.S. District Court did not disclose the settlement terms, but they included the stipulation that the officer and police chief be dropped as defendants. We can only hope that the city will also be required to provide better training to its officers in the use of the Taser, which inflicts an electric shock to subdue a suspect. Cardall, who was mentally ill and naked and unarmed at the time, was twice shocked as his wife screamed at the officer to help him. Officers who use potentially deadly force instead of taking less-risky steps first because they don't understand how to deal with the mentally ill are a danger to the public.
Police are your friends? • Ogden Police Chief Mike Ashment excused a contingent of officers who raided the wrong house at 2 a.m. Dec. 20, frightening a young couple and their two young daughters by saying the department dealt with more than 100,000 incidents in 2012 and "When you deal with that many dynamic sets of circumstances, not everything is going to go seamlessly." Seamless was certainly not the appropriate word for what happened, as described by the husband and wife, whose lives were endangered by the mistake. Ashment apologized later, but, according to Eric and Melanie Hill, the victims, there were no explanations or apologies offered after Eric Hill was handcuffed and they were grilled about a man the officers were looking for. The Hills own the home, and, as Eric Hill pointed out, it might have helped if county records to that effect had been checked first.
Valuing immigrant families • Given the dysfunctional 112th Congress and the fact the 113th promises to be little better, President Barack Obama is right to do what he can by himself to fix the broken U.S. immigration laws. His new rule will make it possible for undocumented immigrants with immediate family members who are U.S. citizens to show that separation from family would cause "extreme hardship" and apply for a visa without leaving the United States. Now they must spend years in their native countries before being able to get a visa and return as legal permanent residents. The rule could affect as many as 1 million of the estimated 11 million people unlawfully in the country now. And it conforms to the philosophy behind the Utah Compact, which supports a compassionate reform of immigration law.