Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chimps with Tasers

Non-Lethal Force

I have no information as to why the police were targeting this fellow. All I have is what is in the video. I assume they have some (maybe poor) reason. They walked past a lot of people before they got to this guy. Then the four officers could not subdue this guy (not that they try) until they pump him full of juice!

Non-lethal force is the new wave for the police officers arsenal. The Taser is the heavy hitter here. Rubber bullets are old school. Now we love the Taser.

This is marketed as a safe alternative when lethal force would have been the alternative. The propaganda states the Taser is to be used by police to subdue fleeing, belligerent, or potentially dangerous people, who would have otherwise been subjected to what they consider more lethal weapons (such as a firearm).

In this video there is not even a request from the cop to submit. The suspect had moved away from the fight and had not engaged the cob.

In this instance the use of force may have been necessary. Though the suspect looked more drunk than disorderly. How is it that 5 cops could not get cuffs on this guy. Have Tasers replaced training?

So, the cops may be free in using these things but if they are non-lethal and it saves police time and provides for police safety, why not use the Taser?

Because they violate the provision against cruel and unusual punishment, perhaps? A report from a meeting of the United Nations Committee Against Torture said that "The Committee was worried that the use of Taser X26 weapons, provoking extreme pain, constituted a form of torture, and that in certain cases it could also cause death, as shown by several reliable studies and by certain cases that had happened after practical use."

Critics of Tasers argue that they are potentially unsafe and police organizations have not kept statistics on policing related deaths or the use of excessive force. The New York Times reported, in 2001, that the U.S. government is unable or unwilling to collect statistics showing the precise number of suspects killed by the police or the prevalence of the use of excessive force.

"Avoiding chest shots with ECDs avoids the controversy about whether ECDs do or do not affect the human heart" was a warning and new targeting guideline to law enforcement agencies to aim shots below the chest center of mass. This would avoid the controversy over cardiac dangers.

Taser International has admitted in a training bulletin that repeated blasts of a taser can "impair breathing and respiration". In the above or many of the videos we find on the Youtube you will find the police tasing 5, 6, 7, or up to 20 taser blasts.

Taser also warns, on their website, that for a subject in a state described as "excited delirium" repeated or prolonged exposure can contribute to "significant and potentially fatal health risks". In public statements Taser has questioned the existence of "excited delirium" as it is not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM).

According to the "Report of the Panel of Mental Health and Medical Experts Review of Excited Delirium" 2009 http://www.gov.ns.ca/just/Public_Safety/_docs/Excited%20Delirium%20Report.pdf it does, in fact exist and reccomends "De-escalating strategies of verbal engagement and negotiation should be the first attempted. If these are unsuccessful, physical restraint must be used in order to bring the person under control and to administer necessary medication treatments. Rapid restraint is necessary in order to
reduce the period of struggle which may exacerbate the situation and increase the potential for a fatal outcome." The report suggests against Tasing as a near worst option.

Deaths from Tasers are more common than one might think for a non-lethal use of force. Proponents have begun to refer to Tasers as less lethal. According to data collected by Amnesty International , as of 10 May, there have been 466 deaths following taser use since June 2001 and 14 so far in 2011. http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR51/048/2011/en/fd870d68-bc42-4ad5-9d97-0c2eefbbdfb2/amr510482011en.pdf

Tasers, being classified as non-lethal weapons, have given police a weapon which often leaves no mark and causes extreme pain, discomfort and in a few cases, death. But have they prevented the use of Guns or "lethal" weapons? Not really. According to the Houston Chronicle, January 14th 2007,

"Since the Houston Police Department armed itself with Tasers, touted as a way to reduce deadly police shootings, officers have shot, wounded and killed as many people as before the widespread use of the stun guns."

In 95 percent of those cases they were not used to defuse situations in which suspects wielded weapons and deadly force clearly would have been justified and more than half of the Taser incidents escalated from relatively common police calls, such as traffic stops, disturbance and nuisance complaints, and reports of suspicious people. They report that in more than 350 cases, no crime was committed. No person was charged or the case was dropped by prosecutors or dismissed by judges and juries. http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Questions-grow-over-HPD-s-use-of-Taser-guns-1842941.php

The police were just being bullies. They can do it because you have a smart mouth or do not say sir or that they had a bad day. They can torture you and have an argument that they used non-lethal force.

There is an old saying among police that if you fire your weapon, prepare to empty the clip. That is to say when you fire your weapon prepare to kill. Those are the stakes of firing the weapon. With Tasers the stakes are a lot lower.

Here are a few more to think about.....

1 comment:

  1. Although I agree with police officers using Tasers, I think police officer need to be properly trained in using electronic devices. Although Tasers are non-lethal, they still can be dangerous if not used right.