Our plan, to track all incidents of taser torture against black folks....

Have you or a member of your family ever been tasered by the police? Was it reported in the newspaper, police report, or other news outlet? Write: TasedWhileBlack@gmail.com and tell us what happened. Want to make a donation to Tasered While Black? Write us at: TasedWhileBlack@gmail.com We will be glad to hear from you.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Differing Black Opinion on Taser Issue

Tasered While Black publisher says: Not all bloggers agree with the "Tasered While Black" issue. Just like the United States does not see it as a weapon of torture as the U.N. does.

Some people don't believe that police do any wrong. Take for an example, the blog Your Black Writers, a blog that says it is a group of Black Writers that get together and share their work.

Well on Tuesday, July 29, 2008 one of the writers wrote about The All-Too-Avoidable Tasing

In the post the writer says: It’s easy for many Blacks to assume the victim posture whenever an “innocent, hard-working, joy-filled, wouldn’t harm a fly” brotha is tased, either during or immediately after some crime has been committed. It would be simple to deried the actions of cops and utter the cry of “electrical sanctioned lynching” or “tased while black” or other myopic nonsense.But here’s the truth, harder and colder than the coroner’s table at the morgue: Follow rules, or get tased. Now, who can’t remember that? Oh yeah: Felonious, belligerent brothas.Hint: If you pretend that you’re deaf, you may receive a 50,000 volt hearing aid for your troubles.Another hard truth: These tasings provide black humor for those such as myself who are normally repulsed by the low comedy of Megroes.

We laugh because in our minds these Megroes deserve every farad of capacitance, every volt of electricity that taser has to offer. They deserve it because we’re tired of Megroes ruining the quality of our lives with their doggerel, their out-dated coonery, their incivility. So when they are tased, we think back to all the times they’ve driven through our hoods at night cranking Soulja Boy at 100 decibels at 2 AM and we exclaim and laugh internally, “Well, you wanted our attention, so here it is!”To all of the cops who righteously tase: Continue to keep the good work up! I’m with you all the way! Keep the laughs coming! Try to tase them until their pants actually come up above their waist! Try to tase their braids out! Tase 'em to a diploma!A Detroit buddy of mine, a cop, recently dealt with a Megro the old-fashioned way: 9 mm bullet to the head. Trust me: there’s no entertainment value there. Only brutal resolution.Lead in one hand, ‘lectricity in the other! Both are excellent conductors in their own right.I’m not saying this to be serious—this is cynical venting here…I don’t wish death upon anyone—but you have to admit there are some glaring common denominators involved here, and it isn’t the seeming sainthood of ghetto-gone-bad brothas, either.

In many of these cases, it’s the celestial convergence of some many secret pinings: spectators thoroughly enjoy the timeless entertainment value of the kinetic Megro getting a 50,000 volt lesson in listening comprehension; a tasee with a life-long death wish being granted one; the actuality of Megroes who have been getting away with metaphorical murder actually being drawn closer to death; weed, alcohol and drugs; cops who have to endure the manure from human debris as a job description finally having a moment of catharsis; frustrated citizens and family members seeing the regrettable yet long-awaited egress of a bad person from their private worlds.If this isn’t win-win, nothing is.As a teacher,

I instruct young people daily in ways to prevent being tased, but you know “urban” kids! Gotta have the last word; he ain’t my daddy—my daddy don’t even tell me what to do; watch me I’m gonna fight back; he bed’not tase me. And so on.Two recent tasings in NC involved brothas. The first brotha, naturally, predictably, was characterized as a hard-working, fun-loving young man getting his life together. It was only after we see video of this Ghandi shoving a display rack behind the manager’s counter and throwing an umbrella at them do we see a more accurate picture of this peacemaker.

The footage was entertaining, but we never saw the tasee writhing on the floor from the effects of the taser. He left with a police officer; he was tased; he later died.They also found weed on him, but that’s not important.The second incident began at a Food Lion, when a brotha tried to leave the store with a cart full of food.

Hundreds of people do just that, but this brotha was "offended" when his debit card didn’t work. So instead of leaving the cart he worked so hard to fill, he felt it necessary to take it with him.Now what’s so unreasonable about that, Food Lion? Ya’ll always effin with a brotha!When the unfeeling, unsympathetic officers caught up with the brotha, lo and behold, he was carrying an Applebee's gift card from the store that hadn't been paid for! Will cops stop setting up brothas for crime they didn’t commit? I mean, after all, the brotha left the food cart in tha parking lot for goodness sake!The brotha was booked for, well, breaking the law and it was somewhere in there, that nebulous grey area of opportunity that brotha became “physically aggressive and was communicating loudly.” After all, isn’t it a birthright for brothas to “swell up” at the po-po?That's when the po-po tased brotha to get him “back under control.”

Brotha never fully recovered from the incident and later died in a local hospital.Of course you realize the duality of this brotha before it’s even mentioned. 1) Previous record(s) and 2) His family maintains an alternate image of this brotha.1) Previous records: Jailed previously – mostly on charges such as possessing marijuana—there’s that weed again, simple assault and misdemeanor larceny, all of which were dropped by a district attorney, according to court documents.

In 1999 and again in 2000, he was found guilty of violating a domestic violence protective order. In 2006, he pleaded guilty to driving while impaired, documents show.2) Alternate image: “He was a very happy, joyful person – the life of the party type of person who lit up a room when he walked in,” said his uncle, Jerry Moore. “Whether he used or had used substances, we don't know.” Davidson's family said they weren't aware of him using or having a problem with drugs or alcohol.So what are some of the rules of engagement?

Rule #1: When the police—you know, the one holding up the law, the one with a baton, pepper spray, Glock and the law on his side—professionally ask you to stop doing something, just stop doing it! I mean, really, how hard is that? Yes, this includes cursing, kicking, swinging wildly, urinating and biting.

Rule #2: If you plan to get high, stay at home, otherwise you are just begging to get tased!

Rule #3: If you have a criminal record, understand you’re a walking taser candidate already.
You’re on borrowed time. Plan around this by having pictures of you looking civilized readily accessible for your funeral program. This goes further than pictures of you standing with your crew flashing signs while smoking a blunt with your baby mama. The civilized picture would actually evoke pity.

Rule #4: Don’t utter certain switch phrases like “I ain’t goin’ out like no punk” or “f--- ya’ll m-----f---- police” or “why don’t you make me spread my legs.”

Rule #5: If you have “locs” and you’re wearing a beater, and you’re saggin’ see rule #3 for the endgame.Rule #6: If you’re attending or have graduated from an alternative high school, you need to know you’re not actually living in an alternate universe. See Rule #5 for your projected endgame.Here’s a lesson for those with half a brain: Do what cops ask you to do THE FIRST TIME and watch your taser potential decrease dramatically. More HERE

Then there is the blog Mirror on America, who recently wrote about Tasers: Not As Simple As Black & White

In that post the blogger wrote: I'm a little torn on the issue of taser use. I have a clear understanding of use-of-force issues from my experience in the God forsaken private security industry and from my college studies. The Taser was adopted as an alternative to pepper spray and the asp, or as sort of a middle ground between the two, designed to be a more effective means of controlling suspects. On one hand, the taser can be an effective law enforcement tool and has been shown to be safe in some studies. On the other hand, high profile deaths, and misuse by police officers have raised too many questions in the last few years.Black bloggers have started a campaign of sorts against the use of tasers. They are looking at this problem through the narrow prism of race, as a Black/White issue. I take more of a middle ground. I have been in situations where I have had to fight & wrestle with suspects and I wished I had a taser. My life and well-being aren't worth putting at risk for the job.I am glad they are raising this issue, although I may not agree with all of their conclusions.

I know the problem of Taser abuse and misuse can't be completely separated from the wider problem of police misconduct and Race, but there have been plenty of people from all stripes who have been victims of taser misuse. Recently they have framed several deaths after police/taser encounters as racially motivated incidents where victims were "tasered to death". While I understand their frustration, these depictions may not be accurate. Framing this problem as a race issue doesn't move the discussion forward.

Race will always dominate the discussion while issues of public policy, improving procedures, and finding solutions will be overshadowed.There are three fundamental problems with how the issue of tasering is being viewed by some bloggers, Black bloggers in particular.1. These cases are clumsily lumped together. But each tasering incident is different....they come with different facts and circumstances and should be looked at individually, free from bias and prejudgment.2. In most cases, suspects do not die from the actual tasering, but they die from some other circumstance, such as known or unknown medical conditions, drugs, a form of trauma, or from a complication of the taser that is not yet well understood (I will come back to that later). But to say in blanket fashion that people are being "tasered to death" is probably inaccurate. In years past, there have actually been more injuries from asps and batons. In fact, a Canadian study found just that- more injuries from batons than from Tasers.

This is a fact that is often missed in the discussion.... many of those who are looking at this issue and who are critical about tasers don't have this important point of reference and therefore many of the discussions lack the proper perspective.3. Many don't consider the acts of the suspects. What events led to the tasering? In most cases, critics are reading newspaper articles or they are getting information from one side. Video may not be available in all cases. Bloggers may be too quick to take the side of the suspect. Critics are not at every scene where a taser is employed, and video is not always sufficient. They are not at these events, yet they make blanket statements as if they were eye witnesses. And they also bring their bias to each event.... (and I point back to item #1... look at the merits of each individual case.).

What do you think? Do these two bloggers make valid points?

What We Think About Taser Abuse

The publisher of this blog is also the publisher of African American Political Pundit.com

Taser misuse has led to controversy across the country.

Tasered While Black.

We are not against taser use as an alternative to deadly force. We are however against taser abuse by police who would use of a taser on the young, elderly, pregnant or physically frail; people offering passive, rather than active resistance; and restrained prisoners.

The publisher of this blog is available to conduct presentations on the issue of taser use for police agencies, governmental bodies, and groups in the U.S. and abroad.

Contact him via email at: tasedwhileblack@gmail.com


Bryan said...

Until you're ready to institute the DEATH PENALTY for drug use (including everyone's drug of choice, ALCOHOL), then please stop torturing people for their addictions. LAWS CHANGE. JUSTICE DOES NOT. Just think, if the Nazis had had tasers....

Nate said...

I wonder if the first commenter has a large "OBEY" sign at home. That long winded comment basically distills to that and some genuine ugliness.

The second comment is rationalizing why it's OK to disallow the "race card" - mostly because because it makes the writer feel icky. I mean, where is the author's epidemiology in stating that cases have been "clumsily" lumped together. There's also a disturbing willingness to accept a study produced by a heavily police-influenced organization that puts deaths on the same moral level as injury from a baton and lacks sufficient comment on multiple tasing - something police in the field are extremely likely to engage in.

Anonymous said...

In addition to being ultra respectful, not making any sudden movements, and perhaps saying "Yes sir" a lot - one should also be careful not to fall from an overpass and break your back, not allow yourself to fall into a diabetic coma, and not be mistaken for someone else that is thought to be armed and dangerous. All these, and many more just like them, will get you tasered (perhaps even 19 times).

The taser is Satan's gift to the world. And those that are so highly in favor of it are the devil's own 'shock troops' (pun intended).


Exodus Mentality said...

The presentation from Your Black Writers detracts from the message, but it is one that each and every one of us would teach our own children. Most negative interactions with the police are avoidable. Do not break the law. Do not go out in public and embarrass me with your behavior. Do not be disrespectful to authority figures. Nothing in this litany of proper ways to behave in any way shape form or fashion attempts to sanction excessive force or improper and/or illegal police behavior. It is patently disingenuous to pretend that it does. And by disingenuous I mean intentionally ignorant with the goal of being misleading.

The lumping together of all known cases of death where the victim had at least recently been subjected to tasing is about as clumsy a class as could possibly be created. No lawyer in his right mind would lump all of these cases together in a class action lawsuit, and yet you want need an epidemiology to substantiate this. The thing speaks for itself. The only link is the taser. Some of the cases it's still a medical question whether the taser actually contributed to the death.

If you are a 17 year old kid with no record who got caught shoplifting and had a sadistic cop repeated tase you when you had already submitted and were in cuffs, would you want your case lumped in with the career criminal hyped up on every street pharmaceutical known to man who gets tased because he's raging and hell raising in the streets after beating his wife and offering to fight every cop on the force? Of course not. Does a case where a single, otherwise reasonable and legitimate use of the taser that results in death from completely unforeseen and unforeseeable circumstances belong in the same class action as the case where officers are obviously illegaly and improperly using the taser to inflict punishment? Does it matter what race someone is when they have been subjected to state sanctioned abuse by the police?

I don't think any reasonable person would deny that those incidents of excessive force do occur and that the taser has become another instrument of torture in the hands of officers predisposed to that behavior. Neither of these two reasonable critiques ever denied that. It's wrong to tase anyone 19 times, just like it's wrong to fire 50+ shots at unarmed men in a car. Those two scenarios, although involving different weapons, are far more similar than the examples I cited earlier. The similarity that matters is the environment that sanctions and sustains these types of activities by officers.

We all agree that the taser has been used improperly, illegally, and unjustly in some cases, and that it can and has been a weapon of murder in the hands of renegade officers. Opinion differs only in that some appear to question the efficacy of a campaign directed at tasers rather than increased efforts to identify and prosecute rogue police, and strategies to change the culture of law enforcement and the judicial climate that allows these criminals to continue to act with relative impunity.alarxbty

Anonymous said...

The question of the root cause of the taser issue is something I've thought about quite a bit. Is it the taser, or rogue cops? Probably quite a bit of both. There have always been rogue cops, but the taser seems to make them more common and, in some ways, much worse. Why?

The issue with the taser is the propaganda coming from Taser about how 'perfectly safe' it is (from the point of view of internal risk factors such as cardiac effects), and the training (which also stems from, and is based on, the same propaganda). Even including the training demonstration shot to the back probably makes the police officers more taser trigger-happy.

If Taser simply would admit that there is a small percentage (5%?) risk of death once the darts land on the chest (thankfully, luck being another safety factor), then everything would fall back into common sense again.

For me, this 'little detail' (risk of death from internal factors) is the root cause of the whole issue. The police have been brainwashed by Taser and they think the risk of cardiac arrest is zero - and then they're surprised when it happens. Even the coroners are ill-prepared for this sort of device that leaves no internal clues for postmortem.

Unfortunately, the only way forward is for the body count to keep building up with more and more clear-cut example where there is simply no other explanation.

Theoretically, it should only take one counter-example to prove Taser and Kroll wrong - but people are thick-headed these days and it may unfortunately take quite a few.

Once the link has been established, society needs to go back and take everything away from the Smith family and Dr. Kroll and others. The lawsuits need to get personal at that point to bankrupt these folks. It's only fair.

I also agree about the rogue cops. That part seems obvious in many cases.

The Angry Independent said...

I see you all posted the first part of my message...and not the second part. I wish you would have gone into the second part a little more...where I basically agreed with your position...that there are too many of these incidents...and too many stupid police officers...without proper training, demeanor, etc.

Thanks for the link anyway though...

I will try to catch up on some of the other postings.