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  1. #1
    Caveman's Avatar
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    Taser incidents renew debate over police usage

    BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (AP) - Chained to a 55-gallon drum to protest the proposed development of a vacant lot, Jonathan Crowell wasn't threatening anyone. But he refused police orders to unshackle himself and leave, so they zapped him with a Taser, then charged him with trespassing.

    "It wasn't just a short burst," said Crowell, 32, of Dummerston, recalling the July 24 incident. "Five seconds is a long time to be electrocuted. My whole body was contorting and flapping around. You can't think of anything else but that pain. It's really scary. I felt like I was being tortured."

    Increasingly, police facing stubborn lawbreakers, belligerent drunks or violent suspects are reaching for stun guns to shock them into submission. In one recent incident, a hospital security guard in Houston used a Taser on a defiant father trying to take his newborn home, sending father and daughter to the floor.

    Police say Tasers are valuable tools for avoiding hand-to-hand struggles that can injure officers and citizens. Small, portable and often effective even when merely brandished, Tasers - which fire tiny, tethered cartridges that transmit electrical currents - have become common in law enforcement in recent years, with some 11,500 police agencies using them.

    But critics say Tasers are being used as a weapon of first resort, sometimes on frail or mentally ill people.

    "What's at issue is whether the level of force being used is appropriate for arresting somebody," said Allen Gilbert, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Vermont. "The Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable seizures, which means police can't use excessive force when they're taking you into custody."

    Supporters of Tasers say they reduce workers' compensation and lost time claims by police by preventing physical confrontations.

    "We went over an entire year without a single lost hour of employee time or officer injury relating to wrestling or struggling to get a prisoner into custody, which is virtually unheard of," said Deputy Chief Walt Decker of the Burlington, Vt., Police Department.

    His department, which got Tasers last year, spent more than $150,000 on lost time the year before for officers sidelined by on-the-job injuries suffered subduing suspects, he said.

    To many, the issue isn't whether Tasers should be used, it's how.

    In the Houston incident, which occurred April 13, William Lewis, 30, was trying to take his newborn home from Woman's Hospital of Texas because he and his wife felt mistreated by staff.

    He was told not to take the baby, and was trying to leave when David Boling, an off-duty police officer working security, shot Lewis with the stun gun as he held the child.

    "It's very easy to blame police officers for the inappropriate use of a Taser, but we need to take another step back and look at how it's been introduced to them," said Dalia Hashad, a human rights violations specialist with Amnesty International.

    "They're under the impression that it's a bit of a magic tool, that you'll shoot someone with 50,000 volts and they'll be rendered incapable and no harm will be done."

    Amnesty International USA has counted 250 cases in the last six years in which people died after being stunned with a Taser, but doesn't track whether the shock caused the deaths, according to Hashad. According to the manufacturer, Taser International Inc., the devices have been listed as a contributing factor in about 12 deaths.

    Hashad says police should exercise more restraint in using Tasers on the mentally ill, and those with medical conditions who can die from the shock.

    "Whether it's coincidence or circumstance, we have several incidents of use of a Taser gun involving a person with a serious mental problem or presumed serious mental health problem," said Ken Libertoff, executive director of the Vermont Association for Mental Health. "The use of a Taser intervention is not a minor situation, and it is not state-of-the-art mental health care."

    Police counter that they can't always tell whether a person has mental health issues or pre-existing medical conditions that would make Taser use dangerous to them.

    Two recent Taser incidents in Vermont involved psychiatric patients.

    On July 3, police used a Taser to subdue an unruly juvenile patient at Brattleboro Retreat, a psychiatric facility.

    Neither the hospital nor police would give more detail about the incident, which prompted Gov. Jim Douglas to ask the state attorney general to review the police's actions and later to ask for a review of police agencies' protocol for Taser use, with an eye toward setting a statewide policy.

    In the second case, a Taser was used to subdue a psychiatric patient from Vermont State Hospital who was spotted jumping in front of cars on Interstate 89.

    "It probably saved his life," said Sgt. Craig Gardner, a Vermont State Police trooper who was there.

    The use of the Taser also prevented the patient from fighting officers or pulling anyone else into traffic, Gardner said.

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  2. #2
    JLK's Avatar
    JLK
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    ''Amnesty International USA has counted 250 cases in the last six years in which people died after being stunned with a Taser, but doesn't track whether the shock caused the deaths, according to Hashad.''

    well why not. just throwing numbers out there is kinda misleading.

    ''But critics say Tasers are being used as a weapon of first resort, sometimes on frail or mentally ill people.''
    no it is much better to spray them then beat them into submission.


    disclaimer: if you have a weak heart or weak mind please do what the police say. failure to do so might prevent futher activity.

    what a bunch of crap.


    "A strong man stands up for himself. A stronger man stands up for others."
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    The old sheriff was attending an awards dinner when a lady commented
    on his wearing his sidearm. "Sheriff, I see you have your pistol. Are you
    expecting trouble?" "No Ma'am. If I were expecting trouble, I would have
    brought my rifle."
    (just stole this one hope you don't mind)


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    it is just that they know so much that isn't so.
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  3. #3
    Mac120's Avatar
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    I've got an idea, the next time a mentally ill man that outweigh's you by 100lbs wants to bust you in the chops, give him a hug instead, yea thats it.....at least our liberal morons will be happy

  4. #4
    Star Man's Avatar
    Star Man is offline Guns only have two enemies; rust and politicians
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    Quote Originally Posted by news story
    BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (AP) - Chained to a 55-gallon drum to protest the proposed development of a vacant lot, Jonathan Crowell wasn't threatening anyone. But he refused police orders to unshackle himself and leave, so they zapped him with a Taser, then charged him with trespassing.
    I'll bet he never does that again.....

    Quote Originally Posted by news story
    "It wasn't just a short burst," said Crowell, 32, of Dummerston, recalling the July 24 incident. "Five seconds is a long time to be electrocuted. My whole body was contorting and flapping around. You can't think of anything else but that pain. It's really scary. I felt like I was being tortured."
    We all know this statement is complete bullshit. We have been Tasered ourselves for training and there are countless videos on you tube etc that show people tense up and lay still during the application of the Taser.

    Quote Originally Posted by news story
    But critics say Tasers are being used as a weapon of first resort, sometimes on frail or mentally ill people.
    As an actual user of Taser's, and using them as a first resort I will have to say it's nice giving the BG a taste of an ass whoopin without ever getting dirty or breaking a sweat. I think the liberals would have a big problem with the actual ass whoopin that would occur without the Taser.

    Quote Originally Posted by news story
    "What's at issue is whether the level of force being used is appropriate for arresting somebody," said Allen Gilbert, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Vermont. "The Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable seizures, which means police can't use excessive force when they're taking you into custody."


    I guess a few punches to the face would be better? Or a night stick to the nuts?

    Quote Originally Posted by news story
    "We went over an entire year without a single lost hour of employee time or officer injury relating to wrestling or struggling to get a prisoner into custody, which is virtually unheard of," said Deputy Chief Walt Decker of the Burlington, Vt., Police Department.
    I would have to say this is enough proof to keep them in use.

    Quote Originally Posted by news story
    "They're under the impression that it's a bit of a magic tool, that you'll shoot someone with 50,000 volts and they'll be rendered incapable and no harm will be done."
    Not always, that's why there are occasional 2nd or 3rd deployments, then the BG is done.

    Quote Originally Posted by news story
    "Whether it's coincidence or circumstance, we have several incidents of use of a Taser gun involving a person with a serious mental problem or presumed serious mental health problem," said Ken Libertoff, executive director of the Vermont Association for Mental Health. "The use of a Taser intervention is not a minor situation, and it is not state-of-the-art mental health care."
    Which again says to me that this is a perfect use of the tool. Without it a bloody ass whoopin would be needed, and the Taser is much less violent no matter what this liberal waste says.

    Quote Originally Posted by news story
    Police counter that they can't always tell whether a person has mental health issues or pre-existing medical conditions that would make Taser use dangerous to them.
    Maybe we should institute a sit down interview policy with all bad guys. We can calmly sit down and have them fill out a questionnaire to see if they have any pre-existing conditions that would prevent the use of a Taser. If they don't then we both stand up and ZZAAPPP!!

    Quote Originally Posted by news story
    In the second case, a Taser was used to subdue a psychiatric patient from Vermont State Hospital who was spotted jumping in front of cars on Interstate 89.

    "It probably saved his life," said Sgt. Craig Gardner, a Vermont State Police trooper who was there.

    The use of the Taser also prevented the patient from fighting officers or pulling anyone else into traffic, Gardner said.
    I'm thinking a 3000 lb car at 55 mph will leave a hell of a mark on the BG when the Taser leaves two little red dots.........
    ...........................................

 

 

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