Monday, November 19, 2007

Tasers are not safe

Another story about someone dying after being tasered, on the heels of that Polish guy who died in Canada.

I think the problem is that a lot of these officers aren't really trained correctly. Tasers should be thought of as an alternative to deadly force. If you can use a taser, where you would have used a gun, that's good. To me, these stories generally seem to be about officers who used the taser in place of physically subduing an unarmed person. I know that it can be dangerous, but that's the job. If you've got one unarmed Polish guy and several RCMPs, your training really ought to be enough to take him down safely.

In these two cases, what would the officers have done before tasers were available? Would they have pulled their guns? If the answer is no, they should leave the tasers in the holster.

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fridge said...

Wow, I'm a bit conflicted about this. Part of me wonders if this is a bit of a media frenzy kinda like Shark Attack mania of a few years ago. Is it an increasing problem, or is it increasingly reported? Dunno.

Certainly, you don't want anyone to die, but I always think of my uncle when I read these stories, who was a cop in Metro Dade for years and did in fact have to kill someone in the line of duty. Because of him, I generally prefer to err on the side of officer safety.

Chris Howard said...

Yeah, I can see that. I'm not suggesting that officers take unnecessary risks, but it does seem that in some cases, the taser has become the easy way out. Shouldn't 3 or 4 trained officers be able to take down an unarmed guy without a taser? If it's not clear if the guy is armed, or there's some other reason to fear for officer safety, I think it's valid to consider the taser. But I think in those cases, you would normally pull your gun, wouldn't you?

You remember the story about a 6 year old in Miami being tasered because he had a piece of glass in his hand?

Mr Furious said...

Or the student getting tasered at that Kerry appearence a month or two back? Fucking ridiculous. The guy was clearly disruptive, not following orders, and somewhat "resisting" but also confused and clearly not a threat to himslef or anyone else.