Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tasers and Turkeys

And flaming dead kittens...


Via Steve Bates, Digby of Hullabaloo cites the most recent incidences involving the misuse of tasers.

Makes your hair stand up on end, doesn't it?

Here are more incidences:
Witnesses alleged police brutality after Eugene officers tasered a protester at a peaceful anti-pesticide rally today downtown and arrested three people.

About 40 citizens and 10 police officers showed up for the noon rally Friday, May 30 at the Broadway and Willamette plaza. Numerous citizen witnesses alleged that police threw UO student Ian Van Ornum, 19, to the ground, pulled his hair, kneed him in the back, ground his face into the pavement and shocked him repeatedly in an act of unjustified brutality.
And here:
A 21 year old black man in Winnfield, Louisiana, named Baron "Scooter" Pikes, was tasered 9 times in 14 minutes by a white police officer in January after he was arrested and handcuffed. He died. Seems a tad excessive to me. However, here's the story of his arrest and subsequent death according to the police report by the arresting officers:
[Police Officer] Nugent spotted Pikes walking along the street and attempted to arrest him on an outstanding warrant for drug possession, according to Police Chief Johnny Ray Carpenter. Pikes took off running, but another officer cornered him outside a nearby grocery store. Pikes resisted arrest and Nugent subdued him with a shock from a Taser.

Then on the way to the police station, Carpenter told the newspaper, Pikes fell ill and told the officers he suffered from asthma and was high on crack cocaine and PCP. The officers called for an ambulance, but Pikes later died at the hospital.
So Mr. Pikes was high on PCP, crack cocaine and had a serious asthma condition? That poor man was seriously messed up if he smoked crack and took PCP with an existing asthma condition. The again, perhaps we should take a look at what the subsequent autopsy report by the Parish Coroner found:
An autopsy determined there were no drugs in Pikes' system and that he did not have asthma, according to Dr. Randolph Williams, the Winn Parish coroner.
They've used Tasers on prisoners in the US run Camp Bucca, a pregnant woman, attempted to use one on a deaf man getting out of the bath tub, tried to silence a yoga instructor in Best Buy, a man on a bike.

The UN says the use of Tasers is torture. Judges have been trying to remove references to Tasers in court cases involving deaths. Since 2001, more than 300 people... MORE THAN 300 PEOPLE have died by Tasering.

The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team was mysteriously brought back to the US and trained to Taser civilians who might be protesting.

And just a question... does the fact Blackwater has been involved in training local police explain why the rising use of Tasers for unimportant actions and the indifference to human suffering?

Update 11/24:
Youtube of policeman accidentally Tasering himself.

Police shoot a drugged out teenager
after Taser doesn't work.

Gee... what else could go wrong?

Update: How about police suing Taser Co. after a demonstration goes awry?


Eli said...

I think the cops and troops and mercs all think (or have been conditioned to think) that tasers are nonlethal, so there's no reason *not* to use them. And it's just soooo much easier to zap someone instead of trying to subdue them the old-fashioned way.

ellroon said...

The old fashioned way... by trying to talk to them first?

All we need are trigger-happy cops thinking Tasers don't really hurt and won't kill.


Steve Bates said...

"Tasers and Turkeys / And flaming dead kittens..."


  Tasers and turkeys, and flaming dead kittens,
  Lawsuits with settlements less than a pittance,
  Innocent people who suffer the stings;
  These are no part of my favorite things...

We are becoming a brutal society... and "brutal" is not a word I use very often.

Tasers should be used in law enforcement only when deadly force is appropriate. I've heard the UK regulates their use in exactly that way; why could the US not do the same?

ellroon said...

Excellent, Steve! I am honored.

An attempt to sing the chorus..

When the Tasers zing
When the bystanders clap
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember that this is all crap
And then I do feel so mad....

Steve Bates said...

We're a great team, ellroon. May the day come... soon... when we can team up on something more akin to "raindrops on roses" than "Tasers and turkeys."

ellroon said...

Yes please. These last eight horrible years have felt more like twenty.

Obama will inspire us to mangle happier songs.