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.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
As reported by African American Political Pundit, publisher of the blog Tasered While Black, "It appears that some police departments have established reasonable taser guidelines, but the guidelines make no difference to officers on the beat, particularly, when it comes to black folks."
Get this folks, The Columbia, MO. Police Department has operational guidelines that state that an officer should not use a Taser against someone the officer believes “is in a position where a fall would likely cause serious injury or death.” Well it's clear that they violated the rules when they tasered a black manwho threatened to jump off a pedestrian bridge above Interstate 70 and they Tasered him and induced the fall.
Phillip McDuffy suffered two broken arms, a skull fracture and possible broken jaw on July 25 when he fell 15 feet from the bridge onto a concrete embankment below.
Police used two Tasers in an attempt to subdue McDuffy after a 90-minute standoff that snarled traffic for miles. More HERE
Tasered while Black publisher wonders if all of the hoopla around getting tasers with videocams will make a difference if poilice are just going to violate thier own policies anyway? Check out what one police department is doing about taser videocams here
Monday, August 18, 2008
As reported by columbiatribune.com During a news conference this morning, Grass Roots Organizing reiterated its request that the city council form a task force to review Columbia police’s Taser policies and not distribute more Tasers until that task force completes its review.
Tasers emit a five-second burst of 50,000 volts that temporarily immobilizes their target. Police say they are an alternative to deadly force.
Critics question the safety of the devices and want the city to ensure they’re used only in situations of imminent danger.
To get more information on the department’s Taser use, GRO volunteer Ed Berg on Aug. 4 made an Open Meetings and Records Law request to the Columbia Police Department for all police reports and arrest records involving Taser use since 2002.
In an Aug. 5 letter of response that was delivered through certified mail to Berg Aug. 8, Capt. Zim Schwartze said it would cost $1,478 for the copy costs and estimated 60 hours of staff time required to fulfill his request. Schwartze included an itemized breakdown of the staff time and the hourly rate per staff member.
Berg’s request included a list of specific information he wanted from those police reports, such as how many individuals who were tased had weapons, racial profiles of suspects tased, the number of people tased when no charges were filed against them, the number of tased people under the influence of drugs, the number of people who were tased from heights of more than 3 feet and the number of people tased in water.
Berg also requested the number of disciplinary actions filed against officers for violating the department’s rules on Tasers as well as all video recordings of Taser use.
Berg said he believed the department’s cost estimate was "unreasonable," and he wanted to bring in his own staff to copy the arrest records. Berg said being required to pay the $1,478 charge before getting the documents is the department’s way of holding the information hostage.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
According to Roma Khanna of the Houston Chronicle.com the Houston police investigated 69 complaints about officer Taser use between December 2004 and May 2008. Of the allegations:
5 were sustained.
0 involved using the weapon on people.
3 prompted officer counseling.
5 remain under investigation.
56 were closed with no wrongdoing found.
Source:— Houston Police Department
Over the last four years, only five officers have been disciplined for misusing their Tasers, although not one of the five actually shocked a suspect, according to records obtained by the Houston Chronicle. Instead, HPD reprimanded officers for threatening people with their stun guns, repeatedly discharging them while off duty and brandishing the weapon in a dispute in an elementary school carpool line.
"If that is how they deal with family problems, how are they dealing with the public?" asked Shirley Baker, whose grandson was shocked by his officer stepfather.
Use of Tasers, sold as an alternative to the deadly force of firearms, has been controversial since HPD first purchased hundreds of them late in 2004. The weapon quickly triggered public criticism with findings that officers often used them on unarmed people who committed no crime and that the vast majority were black.
Houston Mayor Bill White in November 2006 called for an independent analysis, overseen by Controller Annise Parker's office, which is expected to be made public Sept. 8. Parker has been publicly critical, saying last year that HPD's system for tracking Taser use is insufficient and despite claims that each deployment is reviewed, it "can't (be proven) with a paper trail."
Police officials maintain the Taser is a useful tool that has reduced injuries to both officers and suspects. Each incident, they say, is closely scrutinized.
"To have (69) complaints and only a few sustained — that is reflective of successful use," said Assistant Chief Brian Lumpkin, who oversees the HPD internal affairs division. "The numbers show that we have used Tasers responsibly."
HPD officers deployed their Tasers 1,724 times between December 2004 and May 2008, triggering 69 internal affairs investigations. More than half began after citizens filed complaints. Five probes remain open, but investigators found no wrongdoing in 56 others.
Among the people who filed complaints were Thoang Do, 59, a woman shocked during an altercation at her laundromat. Read More>
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Thursday, August 14, 2008
- Winn Parish District Atty. Chris Nevils
Tasered While Black publisher says: "Back on July 12th we reported on how 21 year old Barron Scooter Collins, was Tased to death nine times over the course of 30 minutes. It appears that the advocacy work by the family of Baron Scooter Pikes, and the work of Radio Talk Show host Tony Brown, along with the national reporting of the Baron Scooter Pikes case by Howard Witt have caused Winn Parish District Atty. Chris Nevils to obtain an indictment of a former cop in a Taser death in Louisiana."
As reported by Howard Witt, "a ruling in a racially explosive case that some forensic experts have described as police torture, a grand jury in the small Louisiana town of Winnfield indicted a white police officer Wednesday on charges of manslaughter and official malfeasance for repeatedly shocking a handcuffed black suspect with a Taser device, resulting in the man's death due to cardiac arrest.
After two days of closed testimony, Winn Parish District Atty. Chris Nevils announced that the grand jury had indicted Scott Nugent, 21, for the death in January of Baron "Scooter" Pikes, 21, while in police custody. Two other Winnfield police officers who were present during the incident were not charged.
Nugent, who was fired from the police force in May, could face up to 45 years in prison if convicted on the charges. He surrendered to sheriff's deputies immediately after the indictment was issued, a spokesman for Nevils said, and a $45,000 bond was set."
Read more HERE
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Another "police beat-down" of a black teenager. Another case caught on tape. How many don't get caught on tape? There is something going on with this folks, there is a "national beat down of the black community" and no one in the civil rights community is saying much of anything.
How many more police abuse videos can black communities across America take? How many "mini Rodney King" incidents have to occur? Do you think it's time for old school black civil rights organizations and internet activist to come together to fight against police brutality in America? How many of these videos do blacks have to see before we get angry, say enough is enough and take action. What should the action be? Marches, Demonstrations, boycotts, letter writing, a call for media to cover these abuses - what?
When are we (black folks) going to hold elected officials and police departments accountable? When are we going to begin to take class action law suits out against the state and federal government for failing to protect our civil rights? How much more tasering while black? What will it take to stop the police brutality? What?
Cross posted on African American Political Pundit.com
Sunday, August 10, 2008
As posted by African American Political Pundit, and the blog Tasered While Black, the publisher of those blogs is wondering if The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is seriously thinking about, Taser wrist bands for U.S. Arline Plane Passengers?
He notes, Dave Demerjian wrote a piece for Wired.comIn the article Dave wrote, "Check out the video from a Canadian company called Lamperd Less Lethal is promoting the EMD Safety Bracelet. It's equipped with electro muscular disruption technology, which effectively short-circuits the central nervous system. Zap someone and they'll be completely immobile for several minutes.
The technology isn't new -- cops and security guards have been using it for years in tasers. What's new is the marketing approach. Lamperd is hawking the EMD bracelet as the ideal tool for fighting terrorists intent on taking over an airplane.
And they're doing so with a blatantly exploitive promotional video.
You can watch the five minute video, which has gotten more than 33,000 hits at YouTube."
You see the website FreeMarketNews.com is reporting on this situation and writes, "A senior government official with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has expressed great interest in a so-called safety bracelet that would serve as a stun device, similar to that of a police Taser®. According to this promotional video found at the Lamperd Less Lethal website, the bracelet would be worn by all airline passengers."
This bracelet would:
• take the place of an airline boarding pass
• contain personal information about the traveler
• be able to monitor the whereabouts of each passenger and his/her luggage
• shock the wearer on command, completely immobilizing him/her for several minutes
Click Here For The Full Story
Also check out How About Taser Bracelets For Passengers?
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
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?
The publisher of this blog is also the publisher of African American Political Pundit.com
A court date for the 11-year-old mentally disabled girl Tased by an Orange County sheriff’s deputy.
Acording to the East Orlando Sun, A court date for the 11-year-old girl who was tased by an Orange County sheriff’s deputy has been set for Sept. 17. The girl was arrested on March 27 after a scuffle at Moss Park Elementary School, where she attended the fourth grade. She was charged with battery against a lawenforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence and resisting arrest without violence. If found guilty, the girl could face sanctions such as a boot camp-type program or juvenile detention up to the age of 21.
The East Orlando Sun does not publish the names of juveniles. Orange County Sheriff’s Office reported that school resource officer Deputy Donna Hudepohl, who used her Taser after the girl hit her in the nose, followed agency policy and did everything possible to avoid using the weapon. “Even after she was punched she tried to secure the student but could not,” said OCSO spokeswoman Susan Soto.
“A lot of people questioned tasing an 11-year-old, but when you have someone stand up in front of you, your size or bigger, you no longer see age. [Hudepohl] is on patrol, she is doing her job. She did nothing wrong according to policy.” But the student’s attorney, Mark Lippman, said the girl is mentally disabled (with a lower-than-average IQ) and accidentally hit the officer. Since the incident the girl has not attended Moss Park and has experienced lasting trauma from the incident, he said, including not being able to sleep in her bedroom alone.
“This is a sad situation,” Lippman said. “We are expecting that the case will be dropped before trial or we will get a not guilty.” According to the police report, on the morning of the incident the girl pushed another student into oncoming traffic before school started. The girl ignored several orders to report to the principal’s office and reportedly spat on one teacher three times and threw her things out of her desk. The teacher called Hudepohl, the school’s resource officer, who also asked the girl to come with her to the principal’s office.
The report stated that the girl hit Hudepohl in the nose, after which the deputy tried to secure the victim into handcuffs. According to OCSO, Hudepohl had one hand secured but the girl was “wailing” her other hand at the deputy, who finally had to subdue her with a Taser gun. A Taser is an electroshock weapon that causes a subject to be incapacitated. Hudepohl and the girl were taken to the hospital. Hudepohl was treated for a bloody nose, but the police report classified her injury as minor. More HERE
Monday, August 4, 2008
Kai Wright says, "A coroner has finally confirmed what seemed obvious: Louisiana police killed Baron Pikes."
wsoctv.com report Police said a struggle between a suspect and officers happened in a hallway inside the Iredell County Jail.
Davidson's uncle, Jerry Moore Sr. said he went to the hospital to see Davidson after hearing what had happened."They come down with him on a gurney and they were breathing for him. His face was all bruised and he had a big knot over his right eye," he said.Investigators said it all started when the 29-year-old was arrested for shoplifting at a Food Lion on Wilkesboro highway Saturday afternoon.
Then, according to officers, he fought them while being booked at the Iredell County Jail forcing officers to shoot him at least once with aTaser.Statesville Assistant Police Chief Tom Anderson explained why Davidson was taken to Iredell Memorial's emergency room."Not for any wound or anything other than how he was acting, his bizarre behavior and the belief that he was under some impairing substance,” he said.Chief Anderson said everything that happened was captured on tape. Still, Jerry Moore isn't convinced his nephew did anything wrong.
He wants police to tell family members exactly what happened."We want to hear from them. They owe us an explanation," he said. More HERE
Tased man's family to meet police
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Taser use has become an outrage, a threat to the rule of law, an overt violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, to say nothing of felony violations of US Codes, and state laws against murder. The epidemic of taser abuse is characteristic of fascist police states run riot when those sworn to uphold the law become nothing more than thugs and/or murderers. Read More HERE
A sixteen year old child was shocked with a Taser stun gun by police at a North Carolina school last week for failing to comply with orders to show an officer his I.D. badge.
Quayshaun Leak was tased and arrested in an incident which Richmond Senior High School has since defended as proper policy and "within appropriate bounds of the officer's authority.”
The Richmond County Daily Journal reports: Quayshaun Leak was charged with disorderly conduct by disturbing students, assault on a governmental official/employee and resisting a public officer. The incident involved the Richmond County Schools Special Police at RSHS.
During the incident Leak admits to not complying with the officers instructions, but denies giving the officer any reason to tase him.
“I didn’t give him my I.D. badge when he asked for it,” Leak said. “I threw it on the floor. And as for when he grabbed me by my shirt, I didn’t push the officer. I just shrugged away and backed up against the wall.” More HERE
The website TMZ and the blog All About Race are covering the story on how Josh Brolin and Jeffrey Wright (a black man), who were arrested at a Shreveport, La. bar, were pepper sprayed and tased by cops. And, we're told, police went on a vulgar rant -- and portions were caught on cell phone video.The incident occurred during a wrap party for Oliver Stone's movie "W" about the Prez.
Local station KTBS reports and TMZ sources say Wright, who plays Colin Powell, was repeatedly tasered and pepper sprayed as he lay prone on his stomach in the street. We know witnesses heard the officers using extremely foul language, including the "N" word, directed at Wright. Read more HERE
The publisher of this blog is also the publisher of African American Political Pundit.com
Tasered While Black