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Police Tasers and Excessive Force in AmericaTim King Salem-News.com
Taser makes 'less than lethal' products that resemble real guns.
(SALEM, Ore.) - In August 2008, just before heading to Iraq for the first time to cover the war there, I wrote an article about police tasers in America; taking a speculative look at a practice but also citing many hard facts.
I was particularly disturbed by a new 'triple shot' model that the Taser company in Arizona had introduced. It debuted at a time when the single shots seemed to be claiming enough lives.
Today's 'Involuntary manslaughter' verdict against a California police officer who allegedly mistook his police revolver for a Taser and then shot a man to death, speaks volumes about the Taser company's apparent desire to make these supposedly "less than lethal" weapons look quite deadly, and an awful lot like a gun.
Maybe that confusion really is why BART officer Johannes Mehserle shot an unarmed 22-year old African American father to death on New Year's day in 2009 in Oakland.
Oscar Grant's death at the BART station in Oakland, according to Mehserle, was a tragic accident caused by accidentally grabbing his firearm instead of an electric Taser weapon during a struggle with Grant on New Year's Day 2009.
To the naked eye, it appears to be cold blooded Murder. The shooting was videotaped by several people standing nearby. The idea of a trained police officer actually mistaking a Taser for a gun seems preposterous, but who knows.
How sad that this dangerous and frequently misused police item isn't at least presented to appear as something that isn't lethal. It rings with irony.
Regarding the video posted below, it took about 45 minutes to download all of the video clips here and another twenty minutes to edit them into place. Imagine how grisly and revolting it would be if I put a couple of hours into it.
You just don't have to look very hard these days to see a clip of police abusing people with these highly controversial devices. My article about this really ticked off the head guy at Taser, Steve Tuttle, who said I was wrong in connecting the Taser to 351 deaths at the time in the United States, as cited by Amnesty International. The number has risen of course over the past two years.
Tuttle said: "It should also be noted that by its own admission, Amnesty International has conducted no medical studies and has done no direct evaluation of TASER ECDs. They simply clip news story headlines from the media and look at other open source materials then published their so called 'finding.'"
I found that to be almost comical. He insinuates that because the media reports an event, it must be non-credible? That is a load; Amnesty International doesn't have a hidden agenda, they have concern for human life.
From the Amnesty International report, Tasers – potentially lethal and easy to abuse from December 16, 2008, they cite a number of chilling cases that require no medical degree to appreciate.
Tasing Fragile and Elderly
People want to know one thing; that is what in the Hell happened to the desire of police in this country to do goodwill? Police themselves have to react also, and lobby and fight for what is right, stepping out of the flow of the 'boys in blue' mentality. I know they hate these reports but I can't help control what people do.
But what happened to their physical ability to perform their jobs? Today in Oregon an 87-year old woman was tased by deputies in Clackamas County and died an hour later. She had a gun and a dispute with a bulldozer operator, but was tased in the end, falling the the ground. Almost 90 years old? It seems so damned unnecessary.
I am sorry for all parties involved in these situations, but I hope every cop who uses a Taser for anything but a last resort, should be sent packing and never allowed to work in law enforcement again.
If the agencies were responsible, they would conduct a review each time the Taser is deployed, exactly the same as in the case of firing a weapon in the line of duty.
But they stick to their guns instead, fighting death claims and enjoying their toys. The world looks at us, just destroying each other in the U.S., and they laugh. I'm not laughing though, and I will always do everything in my power to expose needless police brutality.
If you listen to Tuttle and the Taser propaganda, getting zapped with one of these things is about the same as being tagged with pepper spray. Funny, I was gassed in Marine Corps boot camp and between that and pepper spray, I've never heard of anyone dying. Also, somehow everyone ignores the fact that when people are Tased, they lose all control of their muscles. Sometimes they crap their pants, sometimes they strike their heads and receive terrible injuries. There is no dignity in this product, none at all, yet all in the name of police safety, according to Tuttle.
"The TASER is used at the same level as pepper spray at 85 percent of the nation’s 14,500 agencies deploying TASER devices. TASER devices have been used more than 800,000 times against suspects. They are used more than fists, punches, tackles, batons and chemical sprays due to their effectiveness, accountability, and as a safer alternative for a response to resistance for both officers and suspects than the aforementioned tools and techniques."
And now Taser offers its new three-shot model; triple the effectiveness to inflict indignant torture on people, triple the fun for sadistic cops who are a disgrace to their uniforms. That counts for every badge wearing officer or deputy out there who uses this device casually, on frail people, or at any time they could otherwise avoid it. They are the ones blowing this fecal matter into the fan, and there is no going back.
Tuttle's message to the world is that 351 times, people who were violently shocked by skin piercing Taser darts with 50 thousand of volts of electricity, for some other reason... dropped dead.
From the company Website, "TASER® Weapons fire 50000 volts and drop an assailant from up to 15 feet away."
If we don't restrain police from taking possession of increasingly dangerous weapons to use on Americans, we will all in the end be very sorry. Take that one to the bank.
Articles for July 7, 2010 | Articles for July 8, 2010 | Articles for July 9, 2010
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