Knoxville, TN — Paul Edward Branch had just watched his apartment burn to the ground and, as he sat on the fire truck, shirtless, shoeless, and dazed, several Knox County Sheriff’s Office deputies approached him. Within seconds, Branch went from contemplating replacing his belongings to being assaulted and tortured by men who claim they protect society.
Body camera footage from KCSO Deputy Paul Saah shows Branch’s nightmare unfold as he was shocked with 50,000 volts, repeatedly, in such a torturous and unnecessary manner that his bowels released. Ten times in just 64 seconds, the sadistic deputy fired his taser as his fellow deputies piled on top of the man.
As the footage shows, Branch was complying with every command given to him by the deputies. However, because he was moving slower than they liked, the situation quickly escalated.
A KNOX News review of court records and the video shows the following:
“Why are you soaking wet?” Saah asked Branch as Branch had his back turned to the deputy with his hands still behind his back. “Can you relax a little bit, dude?”
Saah struggled with one of the handcuffs and began saying, “Quit.” A second unidentified deputy pushed Branch’s head against the truck.
“You’re going to get (stunned) right now,” Saah said.
Saah then fired his Taser into Branch’s neck. Branch fell face down on the pavement. Saah then said, “Get your Taser out, Gomez.”
As the footage shows, Branch complied with the deputies as leaned up against the truck and sat there with his hands behind his back. However, seemingly unable to control his urge to inflict senseless pain and suffering, Saah told Deputy Christian L. Gomez to “shoot him,” so he fired his taser at the man as well.
Reeling from the agony of the repeated taser shocks, Branch began clutching his chest instead of complying with orders to get his hands behind his back. As he writhed in agony on the pavement, Gomez and Saah continued firing their tasers.
After Branch appears to go into some sort of seizure state, the taser is deployed once more before Saah says, “Kill it,” indicating that they should stop tasing him.
Clearly dazed and confused from being repeatedly shocked by the tasers, Branch’s body locked up. After they had tasered him ten times in a minute, four deputies then piled on top of the man to handcuff him.
“He’s strong as an ox,” Saah said as the deputies put him in handcuffs.
As Knox News reports, Branch was arrested, charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest. The language in the two warrants is identical. Saah’s basis for the public intoxication charge was Branch’s speech “was rapid” and his answers to Saah’s questions were “incoherent.” The charges are pending.
Remember as you watch the video below that Branch had committed no crime when police approached him. He was simply sitting there, barefoot and shirtless watching his apartment smolder—innocent.
As the Sentinel reports, KCSO’s policy treats stun gun usage much the same as the use of deadly force in that a deputy’s decision to deploy a Taser must be “objectively reasonable” under the circumstances. KCSO specifically limits Taser use to situations in which a deputy is in a “physical confrontation” with a suspect or is trying to protect either another deputy or another person who is in a “physical confrontation” with a suspect. It bars deputies from deploying a Taser as “punishment.”
Clearly, these deputies violated that policy.
Branch is now suing the KCSO for $3 million. Rest assured, that the taxpayers will be held accountable and not the deputies.
Neither Gomez nor Saah was fired and both of them remain on regular duty. The department launched an internal investigation, however, the results of that investigation and what action, if any, was taken to discipline the officers is unknown.
“The excessive force used against Mr. Branch including the electrical impulses from the Tasers caused (Branch) confusion as to where he was for the next several days, and the Taser weapons caused him to defecate and urinate himself, which caused (Branch) severe psychological harm,” the lawsuit stated.
Below is what it looks like when an innocent man crosses paths with the wrong cops.