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May-04-2014 12:51printcommentsVideo

Tasering Taxpayers to Death in Salem

The bottom line is that the Salem Police adopted this dangerous, controversial practice knowing how serious of a threat the "taser" is to the people it is used against.

Salem skateboarder tased by police officer
A girl in the foreground looks horrified as the man is tased, the officer in yellow appears nonchalant.

(SALEM) - FOX-12 showed video this week of a Salem Police officer confronting a skateboarder at the Salem Transit Mall, then shooting him with a taser in a way that seems extremely unnecessary. Police are being tight lipped about it, they admit an internal investigation was launched, so the police are policing the police....

FOX-12's Jamie Wilson says, "Salem officials tell us they can't talk about that because the details are part of their internal affairs investigation." It happened on 18 April 2014.

Salem Police know how dangerous the taser can be.

In fact they exemplified the dark side of the act once when one of their own senior supervisors was tased during training a number of years ago, falling and receiving a very serious head injury.

This happened with two police spotters in the room to catch the lieutenant as he fell from the taser shot. By their own admission, Salem Police can not control what happens to a person who is shot with a potentially deadly taser. In other words, tasering a person without necessity is putting their life at risk.

An article originally published by the Statesman Journal newspaper in 2003, later carried by, Oregon Officer Seriously Hurt in Taser Fall, provides chilling details of the injury:

    Deputy Police Chief Ed Boyd remained at Salem Hospital Friday night with serious head injuries suffered in a Taser demonstration. He hit his head when he toppled backwards after being shocked with Taser darts Thursday afternoon — just missing a protective mat.

    It was unclear how long he will be off work, Lt. John Hoffmeister said.

    Boyd, who volunteered for the demonstration, was standing in the middle of several protective mats with people on each side of him.

    Another officer, standing several feet away, aimed for Boyd’s back and warned him when he was about to shoot. After Boyd was struck, he stiffened like a board and fell straight back.

    It was clear that he hit his head hard. Officials immediately called an ambulance.

    Sgt. Jeff Barnes, a Taser trainer, said less than a second elapsed from the time Boyd was shocked and when he hit ground.

    “It just wasn’t humanly possible for the officers to react fast enough to catch him,” he said.

The kicker? This quote, "Salem Police have been considering adding the Taser to their nonlethal arsenal for the past six months."

How bizarre it is to test a product, learn its serious danger, and then put it into use anyway? Either way the police aren't too worried, they have you, the taxpayer, to fund their police playground of torturous tasers.

Evolving, Avoidable Police Dilemma

Perhaps the police just rely on the fact that their officers are rarely if ever found to be in the wrong when they tase and shoot suspects. The bottom line is that the Salem Police adopted this dangerous, controversial practice knowing how serious of a threat the "taser" is to the people it is used against.

Obviously the police opt for that tool in Salem quickly, when they do not have to. To them it is a "toy in their arsenal".

In the older days of police work, officers were trained to use their physical strength and reasoning to resolve a situation. Of course in the old days officers were forced to think, today they just bully their suspects to the ground with electrical currents that could stop their beating heart.

Reinventing the Six Million Dollar Man

The Salem officer's injury is small change when compared to a 2009 incident when Salem cops tasered a man to death, over a "trespassing" charge. Suspect Dies After Being Tased During Arrest. That death led to a $6 million dollar lawsuit and guess who gets to pick up the tab for this sloppy police work? That's right, the Salem taxpayer does.

It isn't unique, quite sadly. Police all over the world kill suspects with tasers. I have written about it extensively, the cost of the amateurish use of tasers is astronomical.

An article by writer Ralph Stone, a retired Federal Trade Commission attorney, titled: Tasers May Not Be As Safe As Advertised, states:

    On May 6, 2011, a team of cardiologists at the University of California, San Francisco announced findings suggesting that much of the current Tasers-related safety research may be biased because of ties to the devices’ manufacturer. Some 96 percent of studies supported by Taser concluded that the devices were “not harmful” or “unlikely harmful.” By comparison, only 55 percent of the independent studies found the devices to be “not harmful” or “unlikely harmful.”

A 2010 article by Michelle Andujar, Tasers: a shocking use of force states:

    "Amnesty International suggests that more than 400 people have died nationwide after being shocked with police Tasers. “Although coroners have attributed most deaths to other causes, the Taser has been cited as a cause or contributing factor in more than 50 deaths,” said Amnesty International in a statement."

    Among those findings:

    "Many were subjected to repeated or prolonged shocks – far more than the five-second 'standard' cycle – or by more than one officer at a time. Some people were even shocked for failing to comply with police commands after they had been incapacitated by a first shock."

    "In at least six of the cases where people died, Tasers were used on individuals suffering from medical conditions such as seizures – including a doctor who had crashed his car when he suffered an epileptic seizure. He died after being repeatedly shocked at the side of the highway when, dazed and confused, he failed to comply with an officer's commands."

    "Police officers also used Tasers on schoolchildren, pregnant women and even an elderly person with dementia."

    "In March 2008, an 11-year-old girl with a learning disability was shocked with a Taser after she punched a police officer in the face. The officer had been called to the school in Orange County, Florida, after the child had become disturbed, pushing desks and chairs and spitting at staff."

These are just a sample of the horror stories that abound in American communities over police Taser abuse.

A responsible city would put an end to the practice.


More Background Articles

Apr-24-2012: Who's Policing the Police? - Toni Samanie

Oct-28-2011: Police Brutality in America and Worldwide - Tim King

Jul-08-2010: Police Tasers and Excessive Force in America - Tim King

Aug-03-2009: Police in U.S. Will Soon Have Multi Shot Taser Guns - Tim King

Aug-04-2009: Taser Use in the U.S. is a Serious Problem - Tim King

Jun-08-2009: Texas Cops Support Taser Strikes on 72-Year Old Great Grandmother (VIDEO) - Tim King -

May-24-2009: Another Taser Death (VIDEO) - Daniel Johnson

Apr-27-2009: More Police Abuse in the Southwest? - Tim King

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.

Albert Marnell September 30, 2014 6:03 am (Pacific time)

When tasers are tested on police, they should not have a mat to fall on or anyone holding them up for any kind of assistance or buffer. They need to fall on concrete as it appears that most people do. People can easily die from hitting their heads on concrete. There needs to be a Congressional Investigation about the use of tasers. An honest finding would ban them in the United States. Perhaps other countries will follow and Taser International will go the way of Lehman Brothers. I'm thrilled to see that Tim King is writing about this issue.

point May 7, 2014 11:25 am (Pacific time)

In other words, tasering a person without necessity is putting their life at risk. Amend to: In other words, tasering a person without necessity is putting their life at risk WITHOUT NECESSITY.

Local Dad 2 May 4, 2014 7:52 pm (Pacific time)

Salem Police SUCK! Bottom line. They will do ANYTHING to get an arrest and it is high time the Mayor and City Council bring in a new Chief and new officers. The D-A's office is NOT any better either and they are probably working together to get as many arrests they can to make the public "think" they are doing their jobs. When really all they do is sit on their cell phones while driving and run license plates. They are the most overpaid city employees even though their job is dangerous, it is because nobody has any respect for them, even criminals with long records, they know the score. Turn it all over to OSP and Marion County and fire them ALL.

Local Dad May 4, 2014 3:58 pm (Pacific time)

Very sad story, something must be done to force the police to train their officers and fire this clown who will quite obviously, always be a detriment to society.  Wait for the investigation, they won't fire him.  He's white and one of them, safe no matter how much he victimizes the innocents of Salem.  Could the young man who was tased be deaf?  

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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