Taser fun for everyone

Stunning – PC Plod has done it again! Just weeks after Canadian police repeatedly taser a Polish migrant to his death at Vancouver airport, US police taser a man just out of his spa pool.

Police forced their way into Donnell Williams’ home in Wichita as he was just getting out of his tub, with a towel around his waist. They say they told him to show them his hands and he didn’t. Williams says he wasn’t wearing his hearing aid and couldn’t hear. “I kept going to my ear yelling that I was scared. I can’t hear! I can’t hear,” he said. Apparently, the officers didn’t hear him because when he didn’t comply, they Tasered him. The police were responding to a call about a shooting, a call that turned out to be a false alarm.

(Source: Reason.com)

Oh, and the Wichita man was telling police he couldn’t hear them … because he did not have his hearing aid in. And police could hardly claim he was concealing a weapon. Despite this, the cops decided to taser the (presumably wet) man.

It seems police truly view tasers as a compliance weapon – you will comply with all police commands immediately or be tasered (maybe to death). And NZ police want to introduce tasers here!!!

Of course, NZ police union boss Greg O’ Connor claims the police should decide whether to use tasers [National Radio interview] (the public should Greg – we are the ones they will be inflicted on), and that cops having tasers will mean cops will kill less people by shooting them with guns …

Of course, it does not seem to have occured to Mr O’ Connor that police could change their training manual to teach police how to defuse situations without using guns OR tasers. The one advantage police have is their ability to quickly outnumber an offender with fit, strong officers. That, and riot shields, stab-proof vests, long batons, pepper spray …

Sadly, when cops have the option of weapons, they all too frequently go for them as a first response, not a last ditch method. Witness the 2000 killing of drunk golf-club wielding Waitara man Steven Wallace; 2 male cops left their female colleague alone with Wallace for 10 minutes while they went to get Glock pistols at the local cop-shop, before returning and shooting Wallace dead. While police claim Wallace advanced on them, this may have been triggered by the cops first shooting over Wallaces’ head (the police summary linked to above paints the police actions in a better light than the details of the police inquiry report). It also ignores the fact that police outnumbered a drunk man by 3 to 1. Riot shields would have stopped Wallace seriously harming the cops while they subdued him.

So having tasers available would not have stopped police killing Wallace – the 2 officers went past riot gear to get guns; they would also probably have ignored tasers.

Verdict – giving tasers to police will increase the numbers of members of the public killed by police, not decrease them.

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