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Friday, August 7, 2009

Taser use and abuse in America.

Tim King has a great article about taser use and abuse in America. He reports from Salem, Ore:

Salem-News.comHe writes; You know, Sigmund Freud would have had a time with the psychology behind police Taser abuse. My story Monday on the new Taser gun that shoots and tortures up to three people at once, did not go over well with the Taser company in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Skateboarding on a sidewalk, being disrespectful, refusing to sign a speeding ticket; these are the reasons some cops use Tasers on people.

I think Steve Tuttle, Taser's company spokesman, feels the heat generating from American awareness. It isn't a level you can simply turn down. Taser use is ridiculous in this country and the video clips I assembled to accompany this article are a hard realistic look at what this device really represents to Americans.

Tuttle wrote to me Monday, objecting to several points in the article. Salem Police also contacted me over referencing a recent arrest-based death that involved a Taser. I corrected the lead to that video link.

I hope every politician reading this article and every taxpayer for that matter, can try to imagine their father, mother, daughter or grandparent being subjected to this level of outright no-holds-barred torture.

There actually aren't words to describe how badly this device is eroding support of law enforcement in the United States. We're the YouTube generation and the controlled atmosphere of the regular media channels is slowly slipping away.

It is being replaced by new media's braver reporters who won't pander or mince words when reporting about a serious problem. In fact I think Internet media is the only hope for discouraging and eventually banning this over the top method of inflicting pain on human beings.

The Taser started out as "an alternative to lethal force". It is important to remember that most police are trained to shoot to kill. In my opinion that is bad business, and one of the few places I have ever heard of that actually trains officers to not always shoot to kill, is right here in Salem, Oregon. The pattern carries across to all of the different local police agencies. They bring in a lot of suspects without killing them.

The dangerous situation is what the Taser was designed for, but as the video shows, they are frequently abused by police. I don't know how or why anyone ever fooled themselves into thinking that this constitutes anything less than excessive force.

Excessive force

It took about 45 minutes to download all of the video clips here and another twenty minutes to edit them into place. Imagine how grisly and revolting it would be if I put a couple of hours into it.

You just don't have to look very hard these days to see a clip of police abusing people with these highly controversial devices.

Tuttle says I was wrong to connect the Taser to 351 deaths so far in the United States, as cited by Amnesty International.

"It should also be noted that by its own admission, Amnesty International has conducted no medical studies and has done no direct evaluation of TASER ECDs. They simply clip news story headlines from the media and look at other open source materials then published their so called 'finding,'" Tuttle said.

From the Amnesty International report, Tasers – potentially lethal and easy to abuse from December 16, 2008, they cite a number of chilling cases that require no medical degree to appreciate.

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. Read More HERE

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