The Fundamental Wrongness of Entrusting Police with TASER Guns
[Editor's Note: Printed below are only a few commentaries from a group of comments posted to a blog that was focused on police TASER killings. Beyond the insanity of entrusting such a deadly and terrifying instrument of torture into the hands of the black-shirt ed New World Order "compliance" goons that have now replaced America's policemen in blue (who used to actually care about protecting the public and maintaining the peace) is the criminal and complicit role of MEDICAL EXAMINERS, who are all too willing to close ranks with local law enforcement and declare these deaths as being caused by drug intoxication or "excited delirium" and similar contrived clap trap Finally, those corrupt judges who continually dismiss the lawsuits brought against TASER International and local city government by the surviving relatives of TASER victims also need to answer for their contributing role in this nightmare of injustice and inhumanity. ..Ken ]
April 27, 2008
The more I read about these taser deaths the more I see the need for changes in police policy.
A taser is a potentially deadly weapon even when used correctly. As such law enforcement agencies really need to rethink and retrain their officers in its use. Take the Beckland case:
Minnesota State Troopers apparently tased a 29 year old man who was sitting in the front seat of his car for being “uncooperative.” Beckland later died.
Was shocking a person to death a proportional response for a lack of cooperation?
Obviously, taser use is not always lethal. But they are clearly not safe for certain higher risk individuals. A police officer has to make a split second decision on whether and what kind of force to use in certain situations. He/she does not have time to give a medical questionnaire before using a taser.
It’s easy to say the person getting tased deserves what he gets. But it is clear that many of these cases are situations where a person is over-reacting, distraught or mentally ill. Do they deserve to die?
Should a protester who non-violently resists arrest or is verbally abusive be subjected to a potentially deadly weapon?
Should a person refusing to get out of his car on a simple traffic stop be subjected to potential death?
Tasers should be classified as potentially deadly weapons. Officers who use a taser should be subjected to review and held responsible for over use or misuse. Taser deployment should be treated with the same scrutiny as a gun discharge.
March 20, 2008 at 9:09 am
Actually, I’m getting more and more terrified by those things. The Republican convention will be held here in Minneapolis in September, and our police department is loading up on them.
Now, I’ve been to plenty of protests here and I certainly know that the cops don’t hold back. Even without tasers, they meet any kind of resistance with violence. I will always remember, in particular, seeing them drag off and pepper spray a little tiny young woman because, essentially, she was already behind the line they’d just arbitrarily drawn, and the police in question were two or three big tall heavy men. It’s always violence. I’ve seen people come back with black eyes and bruises on their bodies from peaceful civil disobedience.
Around here, too, we still remember the cop who swung his baton just like swinging a bat and broke someone’s ribs, someone who had accidentally stepped off the crowded curb when the police had said that everyone had to stay on the curb. This was during a Bush I visit.
So anyway, I see these tasers and I’m afraid, because I know they’ll use them on us, and if the past is anything to go by they’ll use them indiscriminately. And it seems to be a bit random whether you die after you’re hit or not–quite young people seem to.
March 20, 2008 at 9:43 am
Th e use of tasers is rather reminiscent of the use of police dogs by the LAPD.
As a resident of SoCal for the last 30-years, I remember very well reports of dogs being used to subdue/punish suspects.
Here is an abstract of an article from the LA Times, March 1, 1996 (I don’t want to pay for the whole article, which I could share here anyway):
“For more than a decade, police in Southern California have unleashed dogs on suspects, inflicting injuries at rates far higher than those associated with batons, tear gas or even guns. Faced with complaints and lawsuits, many police departments have modified their use of the dogs. The sometimes conflicting approaches that have resulted are reflected in the philosophies of Southern California’s two largest law enforcement agencies, the Sheriff’s Department and the LAPD.
Today, civil libertarians and plaintiffs’ lawyers credit the Los Angeles Police Department with a historic turnabout in its use of police dogs. They are harder on the Sheriff’s Department. But after years of making little progress toward reducing dog bites, the department is also registering modest gains, soon-to-be released statistics suggest. Its critics say the progress is overdue, but conceded that they see subtle signs of improvement in an area that has long been the source of bitter debate.
In the late 1980s, LAPD dogs were biting more than 300 suspects a year, causing more injuries than all other forms of force combined. In 1989, for instance, the thousands of LAPD officers who worked regular patrol duties arrested about 300,000 people and sent about 70 of them to the hospital. The 15 or 16 who worked in the department’s canine unit made about 650 arrests, and sent 100 of those to the hospital–more serious injuries than the entire rest of the LAPD combined.”
And here are excerpts from an OpEd, May 3, 2000:
“For years, Los Angelenos in poor minority neighborhoods complained that the LAPD’s dogs unnecessarily mauled and maimed them…the LAPD dismissed as absurd the hundreds of complaints about its dogs. Even after the Christopher Commission noted troubling aspects of the unit’s practices, the LAPD Police Commission continued to back police claims that its use of dogs was reasonable, not excessive, force. And by and large, so did juries.”
“That is, until we got the data. In Lawson vs. Gates,…we pooled dog bite victims into a class and demanded years of data on bite and hospitalization rates, deployment patterns, dog training and other information…The LAPD had claimed it used the dogs in minority areas because that’s where crimes for which the dogs were trained disproportionately occurred. The data showed these crimes actually occurred at higher rates in nonminority communities. The LAPD adamantly denied using excessive force in arrests made with dogs. The data showed that in one year, 80% of arrests made with dogs resulted in bites and that 47% of the bites resulted in hospitalization. Yet in arrests for the same crimes made without dogs, less than 2% resulted in force and less than 1% in hospitalization.
“The LAPD claimed with great indignation that racist attitudes played no role in dog use. Transcripts of squad car conversations, however, showed that officers commonly referred to black youths as ‘dog biscuits’ and to the unleashing of a dog as ‘feeding time.’ Because of our class-action K-9 case, the LAPD dogs have been retrained and bite rates must stay below 10% unless rationally explained.”
The more things change, the more they stay the same…
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