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Tasered While Black
Tasered While Black
TODAY!

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, December 30, 2009

Landmark Taser Torture Court Ruling In America - Special Post

I have come out of Semi-Blogger Retirement from my blog African American Political Pundit to write this special post on Taser Torture in America. I want to thank Rikyrah for the link, and Hudson Sangree and Kim Minugh at SACBEE.com for their excellent reporting of this landmark decision.  As reported by SACBEE.com, A federal appeals court on Monday issued one of the most comprehensive rulings yet limiting police use of Tasers against low-level offenders who seem to pose little threat and may be mentally ill.

In a case out of San Diego County, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals criticized an officer who, without warning, shot an emotionally troubled man with a Taser when he was unarmed, yards away, and neither fleeing nor advancing on the officer.

Sold as a nonlethal alternative to guns, Tasers deliver an electrical jolt meant to subdue a subject. The stun guns have become a common and increasingly controversial tool used by law enforcement.
There have been at least nine Taser-related fatalities in the Sacramento region, including the death earlier this month of Paul Martinez Jr., an inmate shot with a stun gun while allegedly resisting officers at the Roseville jail.

As lawsuits have proliferated against police and Taser International, which manufactures the weapons, the nation's appellate courts have been trying to define what constitutes appropriate Taser use.
The San Diego County case is the latest ruling to address the issue.
The court recounted the facts of the case:

In the summer of 2005, Carl Bryan, 21, was pulled over for a seat-belt violation and did not follow an officer's order to stay in the car.

Earlier, he had received a speeding ticket and had taken off his T-shirt to wipe away tears. He was wearing only the underwear he'd slept in because a woman had taken his keys, the court said without further explanation.

During his second traffic stop in Coronado, he got out of the car. He was "agitated … yelling gibberish and hitting his thighs, clad only in his boxer shorts and tennis shoes" but did not threaten the officer verbally or physically, the judges wrote.

That's when Coronado Police Officer Brian McPherson, who was standing about 20 feet away watching Bryan's "bizarre tantrum," fired his Taser, the court said.
Without a word of warning, he hit Bryan in the arm with two metal darts, delivering a 1,200-volt jolt.

Temporarily paralyzed and in intense pain, Bryan fell face-first on the pavement. The fall shattered four of his front teeth and left him with facial abrasions and swelling. Later, a doctor had to use a scalpel to remove one of the darts.

Bryan sued McPherson, the Coronado Police Department and the city of Coronado, alleging excessive force in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights.

The officer moved to have the claim dismissed, but a federal trial judge ruled in Bryan's favor.
A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit affirmed the trial judge's ruling on Monday, concluding that the level of force used by the officer was excessive.

McPherson could have waited for backup or tried to talk the man down, the judges said. If Bryan was mentally ill, as the officer contended, then there was even more reason to use "less intrusive means," the judges said.

"Officer McPherson's desire to quickly and decisively end an unusual and tense situation is understandable," Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw wrote for the court. "His chosen method for doing so violated Bryan's constitutional right to be free from excessive force." . Read More HERE




AAPP, publisher of the blog, Tasered While Black and Stop Taser Torture said: "This is a great landmark ruling. I'm glad to hear that this Federal Judge had the guts to stand up for what is right, rather than to follow the script layed out by Taser International and Police Departments for so many years. We still need to work hard to get these weapons of American Torture outlawed in the United States.  Limiting the use of tasers by police is one gigantic step forward in that regard."


We will be talking about the taser torture decision tonight on my blogtalk radio program. Join us, to find out what average black Americans think about the taser torture issue and other issues impacting America.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Stop Taser Torture – Blogging For Justice Day” Dec 4 2009.



 





Today is Stop Taser Torture blogging for Justice Day.  

I join this effort in solidarity with so many bloggers of all walks of life concerned about taser torture in America. Speaking of Taser Torture, now we learn from Raw Story, for at least the second time in three weeks, police officers have shocked an unruly 10-year-old child, and, once again, the child's adult guardians are supporting the move. 

According to Raw Story Sheriff's deputies in Pueblo, Colorado, Tasered a 10-year-old boy after arriving at the child's home Monday evening, after the boy had threatened them with a stick and a length of pipe. As of Thursday evening, the boy remained in a youth jail, according to KCNC channel 4 in Denver. The deputies involved described the boy as an "out-of-control juvenile." The Colorado incident follows a similar case last month, when a 10-year-old girl in Ozark, Arkansas, was Tasered after kicking an approaching officer in the groin. In that case, the girl's mother had suggested to the officer that he use a Taser. More HERE


"A two-foot piece of pipe can do a lot of damage, I don't care who's swinging it," Daniel Bilby told KCNC. Bilby said the police could have done more harm to his foster son -- whose name is being withheld because of his age -- if they had tried to tackle him.


Capt. Jeff Teschner of the Pueblo County Sheriff's Department told the Pueblo Chieftain that the officers were justified in their use of force.


"They followed all policies and procedures. This was appropriate use of the Taser device," Teschner said.


The Chieftain reports:

Deputies Mark Myers and Randy Mondragon were sent to foster parent Daniel Biby's home to help with an "out of control juvenile" who was reportedly destroying property. Mondragon said the boy had threatened Biby with a pipe and a stick, and had thrown a landscape timber at Biby.
Mondragon said that when deputies arrived, the boy ran away from them holding a 2-foot-long pipe.
"This lad, we have a long history of (him) running away. I don't know what his entire psychological profile is, but obviously he has emotional distress," Teschner said.

The recent incidents of Taser use on children will likely spur debate on the ethical and safety issues involved in using conducted energy weapons on youths.


AAPP says: The problem is, it's not just kids that police are tasing, many police departments are using tasers to torture even nonviolent    people who are often those who are incoherent,    hallucinating, wheelchair    bound, suicidal,    unarmed, deaf, handcuffed,    blind, pregnant, students,     or just didnt move fast    enough for an officers liking. Taser torture in America is continuously growing not only in volume, but in the level of how liberally, unwarrantedly, and excessively tasering is being used across the U.S and many other countries."


What can we do?

As reported by Amnesty International,Taser policy is most often a local issue. Individual law enforcement agencies – city and state policy, sheriff’s departments, and campus police -- decide if they are going to employ the weapons, and what rules will govern their use. You can help lobby your own city or town to suspend use of Tasers pending thorough safety research, or to limit their use to situations where they are an alternative to deadly force.



***

To improve your town’s Taser policy, you first need to establish the facts. If your city uses Tasers already, what policies are in place to govern its use? One place to start is writing to your police department to request information about how Tasers are employed and to get a copy of the use-of-force policy used by the police.

Use-of-force policies vary widely. Some departments allow the weapons to be used in cases of “passive resistance,” including when the individual is refusing to obey a verbal command. These policies allow for the weapons to be used in situations where, in many cases, no weapon would otherwise have been used (See the case of Darryl Turner, a 19 year old in North Carolina who died after being shocked by a Taser. He was not holding any weapon and had his hands by his side Case Study of Darryl Turner. Many departments authorize officers to employ the weapons when an individual is “actively resisting.” This is better, but still short of Amnesty International’s recommendation, given the unanswered safety questions with Tasers.

If you find that your town uses Tasers but does not require all of Amnesty International’s recommended policies on their use, you can work to get your local police to revise the use-of-force policy so that Tasers may only be used in more extreme circumstances. Amnesty International's list of recommendations to law enforcement agencies on Tasers.

Get the word out about Tasers in your city, gather public support, and work to convince your local authorities that it is within the interest of public safety to improve the policy on Tasers!

For a packet of further resources for campaigning on Tasers, please contact your AIUSA regional office Contact Information for Regional Offices







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