of no fixed subtitle
June 03, 2005
but it's just a lot more
15 years ago
"tazer, and on"
I found that footage profoundly disturbing (especially with sound on). There are better ways to deal with a bubble-headed car driver than that...
someone come up with evidence these are isolated incidents, and that there is some sort of independent regulatory body in place to prevent abuses like these.
hides head in sand
Sure, there are better ways to deal with bubble-headed drivers. But there's no better way to deal with someone who, in a moment, is going to shoot you dead and drive away. The problem, if you're a cop, is distinguishing between these two kinds of people. Far be it from me to be an apologist for The Man- G*d knows there's no shortage of abuses of power these days; we live in an increasingly authoritarian society in which people will look away from all sorts of abuses in the name of security, and yeah, tasering a 75-year-old woman is just unbelievable. But the flip side is that every time a cop pulls somebody over for a busted tail light, he could very well end up dead. So if you get pulled over, and the cop asks you to step out of your car, and you decide to tell him hell, no, you're not going to do that, you should probably get down on your knees and give thanks to the inventor of the taser for giving the cops something nonlethal to shoot you with.
But they are using this tazer against people clearly unarmed and just distraught (not the first driver, she could have been armed, but certainly the 15 year old and the 75 year old in the nursing home). And most of these seem to be male police officers - are they claiming that they are too small to have subdued either a 15 year old or a 75 year old just by wrapping their arms gently around them? And what happened to calming people down by talking to them?
I have to agree with Stan. The cops take their life into their hands everytime they make a traffic stop. Considering how many traffic stops a day there are, seeing something like this once every two or three months tells me that most cops are just trying to do their job. Sure, there are some assholes, but they're everywhere. That said, I watched the video. The woman did everything wrong by the numbers. First off, the woman was speeding by the cop car...at least 20mph faster than the cop car was moving. Second, they did not request her to get out of her car until they found out she had a suspended license (quite illegal and an arrest offense). Third, when requested to get out of her vehicle, she did not stop talking on her cell phone or get out of the vehicle. It was only after repeated requests and orders for her to get out did they resort to the taser. Why? Because it's safer for the cops to do that than drag a belligerant and combative person from their car. So, in this case, my sympathies are on the side of the cops.
"you should probably get down on your knees and give thanks to the inventor of the taser for giving the cops something nonlethal to shoot you with."
The problem is tasers are lethal sometimes. The fact that they do not kill people every time they get used will, I fear, lead to them being used very often and the more they get used the more people will die.
"The cops take their life into their hands everytime they make a traffic stop
Yes they do, but a farmer or a fisherman has a far more dangerous job. I really don't see how this is relevant. If you can't do your job without violently attacking a person who is being an asshole then you are defective and should be replaced. I know that I would have little patience with people like the woman in the video so early on I ruled out cop as a career.
>But they are using this tazer against people clearly unarmed How does the 15-year-old qualify as 'clearly unarmed'? Are we talking about a 15-year-old *American* high school student? Let's reflect on adolescence for a moment- there are plenty of 15-year-olds who are physically indistinguishable from 20-year-olds, and emotionally indistinguishable from 10-year-olds. Can you seriously imagine a cop having a hostile confrontation with a high school student, perhaps in a group of a dozen or two of her friends, and resolving the situation by 'wrapping his arms gently around her'? Again- I despise the abuse of power. But let's reframe the question- do you leave your purse or wallet sitting on a park bench unattended when you walk outside? Do you leave your toddler unattended in a playground? Do you leave your car keys in the car? You probably don't, and it's probably not because you really think you're surrounded on all sides by criminals and evildoers- but when something substantial is at stake, *you don't want to take any unnecessary chances*. So, yeah, it'd be great if the cop would calm down the belligerent mototrist by talking to her. But I can't really blame the guy for not wanting to take any unnecessary chances. The sad thing is that, on second viewing, the driver of the car in the video sounds like she wants to be on the phone with someone because she's afraid of what the cop may do to her in the absence of witnesses. What a mess.
"the driver of the car in the video sounds like she wants to be on the phone with someone because she's afraid of what the cop may do to her in the absence of witnesses"
I think most people in the USA are afraid of cops these days.
>I think most people in the USA are afraid of cops these days. Yeah- and I think most cops in the USA are afraid of people these days. Unfortunately, both these views are quite reasonable. I think I'll just be staying indoors from now on.
My editorial on this, from several months ago: *** A six-year-old mentally disturbed boy who had cut himself with a shard of glass intentionally and a 12-year-old girl caught skipping class in Miami. A 12-year-old retarded boy in Pembroke Pines who’d stabbed a classmate with a pencil. A wheelchair-bound man wielding scissors. A man who wanted to see his hurricane-ravaged house in Fort Myers. A transient near Orlando who acted “erratically” but had no visible weapon. A 44 year old man in Pensacola described as “incoherent and aggressive” by police. What do they all have in common? They were tasered by Florida police in 2004. Also known as a “stun gun,” a taser is described by manufacturers as a nonlethal weapon delivering a 50,000 volt shock to the body. But the nonlethal method proved deadly for three other Floridians in December. Two men in their 30s and a teenager all died within hours of receiving the shock. All three police departments maintain that the tasers didn’t cause the deaths—but they also have no way of knowing. There has not been a single study on the long-term effects of tasers, or of their potential lethality, particularly in people with existing heart conditions. That’s the problem with “compassionate” methods: if police believe a method doesn’t cause per-manent harm, they’re likely to use it more than necessary. Instead of forcing officers to look for a good alternative, the taser provides a quick way to subdue anyone—even children or invalids. Instead of talking them down or restraining them, which takes longer, a cop knows it’ll be less of a challenge just to aim a stun gun. When that happens, the stun gun becomes more of a law enforcement problem than a solution. Compassionate methods often become worse than what they replace. The guillotine was developed as a kinder alternative to beheading by a swordsman. But the humaneness came at a cost: soon the guillotine was used far more than swordsmen ever were. Making death humane made it more accept-able and led to more death sentences. During last year’s baseball playoffs, a crowd in Boston was subdued with another “nonlethal” method: pepper spray. The people celebrating Boston’s victory were loud, but not violent. Force would not normally have been used. But because police had easy, quick chemical methods of crowd control available, they used them. A girl died after one of the chemical capsules lodged behind her eye and exploded. Following the incident, Boston police adopted new guidelines for using chemicals for crowd control and subduing suspects. Non-lethal methods are useful in cases where the only other choice is lethal force. But using them for routine crowd control or to subdue a suspect who could easily be physically restrained is lazy and unnecessary. After the deaths of three otherwise healthy adult males, Florida police need to reexamine criteria for taser use. Sending 50,000 volts of electricity through a suspect’s body should be a last resort, not a first response.