EAST POINT, Ga. — Testimony is underway in the trial of two former police officers accused of murdering a handcuffed man with their stun guns.
Former East Point officers Howard Weems and Marcus Eberhart are charged with felony murder, aggravated assault and reckless conduct in connection with Gregory Towns' death in 2014.
Prosecutors said they used a Taser on Towns 13 times while handcuffed. If convicted, Weems and Eberhart could be sentenced life in prison.
Towns, 24, died April 11 after a confrontation with the officers. According to Towns' family attorney, Chris Stewart, Towns was not resisting arrest when was stunned repeatedly with Tasers while handcuffed shortly before dying.
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Towns was 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighed over 250 pounds. When they ordered him to get up and walk to the patrol car, he said he was tired couldn't get up. The officer then used their stuns guns on the suspect to get him to move.
The prosecutor said as a result of the repeated electric shots Towns died.
“It's not that mister Towns was being obstinate, that he just wasn't obeying the commands of the officers,” said prosecutor Melissa Redmon. “He couldn't get up he couldn't he couldn't walk fast enough to satisfy these defendants.”
“All of these were lawful orders that law enforcement were in their right to do,” said defense attorney Sandra Michaels. “They had the right to tell him to stop running. They had the right to tell him he was going to be arrested. They had the right to tell him he was going to jail. They had the right to tell him to get up and walk to that patrol car because we cannot lift you.
Defense lawyers say the officers were fully within their right to use their stun guns because he was passively resisting when they told him to get off the ground and walk to the patrol car.
"What Mr. Towns was doing was actively resisting a lawful order, which gave Officer Eberhart authority to use the dry stun mode," defense attorney Sandra Michaels told Channel 2's Tom Regan.
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